- "Kyoto thrives in Montreal" - FoE. Government leaders in Montreal today reached a historic agreement on future action to tackle climate change. The Montreal Action Plan (MAP) was concluded despite a last minute intervention from Russia which almost resulted in deadlock.
- Negotiators worked through Friday night to reach a progressive agreement under the Kyoto Protocol, which will lead to deeper emissions cuts in the next commitment period, which starts in 2013. This Kyoto deal initiates crucial negotiations on legally binding targets for industrialised countries and also sets in motion a wider review of the entire regime involving all countries, due to be discussed at talks next year.
- Human health under threat from Ecosystem degradation - Threats particularly acute in poorer countries. The World Health Organization (WHO) is publishing a report, Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Health Synthesis, which represents an attempt to describe the complex links between the preservation of healthy and biodiverse natural ecosystems and human health.
- "Over the past 50 years, humans have changed natural ecosystems more rapidly and extensively than in any comparable period in human history," said Dr LEE Jong-wook, Director-General of the World Health Organization. "This transformation of the planet has contributed to substantial net gains in health, well-being and economic development.
- But not all regions and groups of people have benefited equally from this process." Approximately 60% of the benefits that the global ecosystem provides to support life on Earth (such as fresh water, clean air and a relatively stable climate) are being degraded or used unsustainably. In the report, scientists warn that harmful consequences of this degradation to human health are already being felt and could grow significantly worse over the next 50 years.
- The Health Synthesis Report is WHO's contribution to the broader Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, a four-year series of studies and reports, involving over 1,300 scientists, considering impacts on human well-being, past, present and future. WHO home page , Ecosystems and Human Well-Being: Health Synthesis can be found here. Other Millennium Ecosystem Assessment reports can be found here / Global connections, Health, Environmental justice
- Rubbish charges linked to backyard burning. Whangarei (New Zealand) residents trying to avoid paying newly introduced rubbish charges are being linked to an increase in illegal backyard refuse burning.
- Paul Baynham, Air Quality Team Leader for the Northland Regional Council, says prior to the introduction of user-pays charges for kerbside rubbish removal, the Regional Council had typically dealt with one complaint a week about household refuse burning.
- “In the last month we’ve had 16 complaints in the Whangarei District, more than double what we had during the same period last year.”
- Baynham says people causing smoke nuisances have been claiming that they’re burning household rubbish to avoid paying rubbish charges. He says among the more unusual items people have been caught attempting to burn in recent months have been used disposable nappies, fish carcasses, and entrails.
- Under the Regional Council’s Regional Air Quality Plan, it is illegal to burn a wide range of materials.
- Under the Resource Management Act 1991 it is illegal for people to create a smoke nuisance and offenders can be hit with instant fines of $750. Northland Regional Council
- Europe feels the heat as climate change tops the list of environmental challenges. The four hottest years on record were 1998, 2002, 2003 and 2004. Ten percent of Alpine glaciers disappeared during the summer of 2003 alone. At current rates, three quarters of Switzerland's glaciers will have melted by 2050. Europe has not seen climate changes on this scale for 5 000 years, says a new report by the European Environment Agency (EEA), based in Copenhagen.
- 'The European environment - State and outlook 2005', a five year assessment across 31 countries, provides an overview of Europe's environment and points to challenges of which climate change is just one. Other areas of concern include biodiversity, marine ecosystems, land and water resources, air pollution and health. For the first time, the report has a country by country analysis with performance indicators and comparisons for all of the participants: the EU-25 plus Bulgaria, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Romania, Turkey and including Switzerland.
- 'Without effective action over several decades, global warming will see ice sheets melting in the north and the spread of deserts from the south. The continent's population could effectively become concentrated in the centre. Even if we constrain global warming to the EU target of a 2 °C increase, we will be living in atmospheric conditions that human beings have never experienced. Deeper cuts in emissions are needed', says Jacqueline McGlade, Executive director of the EEA. / Climate change, Environment quality
- Annan presents prototype $100 laptop - United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan unveiled the first working prototype of the $100 laptop at the World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis, Tunisia. Annan was joined by Nicholas Negroponte, chairman and co-founder of the Media Lab at MIT, in presenting the laptop to the gathering.
- The $100 laptop, first announced by Negroponte at the World Economic Forum in January 2005, is an ultra-low-cost, full-featured computer designed to dramatically enhance children's primary and secondary education worldwide. It is a joint project of the Media Lab and the nonprofit One Laptop per Child (OLPC) association, which aims to equip the world's schoolchildren and their teachers with a personal, portable, connected computer. MIT / Education, Global connections, New technology focus
- Wikicities expected to upgrade to MediaWiki 1.5. Was to happen on 12 November but problems; see Wikia Central Mailing List for a sort of update. (Of course that's global news!!)
- UK and India sign sustainable development pact. Britain and India have signed a declaration that will see the two countries work closely together to find fresh approaches to global environmental, economic and social challenges. UK Environment Minister Elliot Morley and Mr A Raja, Indian Minister of Environment and Forests, met in London today to agree a joint high-level sustainable development dialogue.
- The agreement is part of an initiative by the two countries' Prime Ministers to strengthen ties on a range of areas including research, environmental impact assessment, public-private partnerships, sustainable forestry, illegal trade in animals, science and technology. The UK has set up an India Task Force to aid cooperation, as both countries aim to ensure that the environmental dimensions of growth and development are integrated into national policies to meet national needs and global goals. Defra / Global connections
October 7 Edit
- Sir David Attenborough And Round-The-World Yachtsmen Support Global Campaign To Save The Albatross - World-renowned broadcaster and naturalist, Sir David Attenborough, and the organisers of the world’s premier ocean sailing challenge - The Volvo Ocean Race - are announcing their support today for BirdLife International’s Save the Albatross campaign.
- The RSPB, the UK partner of BirdLife International, is launching a website www.savethealbatross.net as part of the campaign to raise funds in support of Operation Ocean Task Force. This exciting new initiative will place trained people on longline fishing vessels to show the crews simple and practical techniques to prevent seabird deaths. Around 100,000 albatrosses a year - approximately one every five minutes - drown when taking bait from hooks suspended on longlines up to 130km long. As a result, 19 of the world’s 21 species of albatross are now threatened with global extinction. Hanging streamers near fishing lines to scare birds away, weighting lines to make hooks sink more quickly and dyeing bait to make it less visible to seabirds, are all extremely simple, yet proven, techniques to avoid the needless slaughter of albatrosses. Save The Albatross / Biodiversity