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Rich countries pledge $4B to stop deforestation

OSLO, Norway - (AP) Developed nations pledged more than $4 billion Thursday to finance a program meant to help poor countries protect their forests and slow global warming. An agency monitoring the aid will be up and running before U.N. climate talks start in Cancun, Mexico, later this year, the European...

UNFCCC makes major step towards incentivising wetland restoration

By Malcolm Dowden, Solicitor and Environmental Law Consultant Despite widespread disappointment at the outcome of last year’s climate change summit in Copenhagen, quiet but significant progress has been made on issues such as reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) and...

Study concludes forests are decreasing, but how good is the data?

Using data from 541 randomly selected 18.5 by 18.5 km blocks, an analysis of Landsat-7 satellite data has concluded that 3% of the forests (1 million square kilometer) present in 2000 were gone by 2005. See map at http://www.sciencenews.org/view/download/id/58673/name/WHEN_A_TREE_FALLS . The researchers...

Could humans have been influencing climate as long as 15 thousand years ago?

When someone mentions "climate change" and people, most of us think about the start of the industrial revolution. Those with a more anthropological viewpoint will think about the advent of slash-and-burn agriculture some 8 thousand years ago. Now, some serious researchers have had some fun...

Decline of Western Aspen trees swells population of rodents that carry the deadly sin nombre virus

As noted in prior posts, Aspen trees in the West have been dying. There appears to be no single cause. However, drought in the 1990's and early 2000's probably made the trees more susceptible to cankers, fungi, and other maladies. The result is that some sites have lost as much as 2/3 or more...

Humans can transmit diseases to gorillas

Prior posts have noted and described a number of human diseases that had their origin in animals. Now it appears that some diseases can be transmitted from humans to gorillas. Ecotourism has been seen as a boon for countries with "interesting" biota; it provides funding for protection of...

Human impacts on the climate preceded the dawn of the petroleum age

Prior posts, occasionally with tongue planted firmly in cheek, have noted that human impact on carbon loading in the atmosphere goes back to well before the industrial era. A recent assessment has calculated that over the eight millennia before 1850, clearing land (for both hunting and for farming...

Early European explorers of North America may have indirectly triggered the Little Ice Age by exposing the local population to new diseases

By the end of the 15th century, between 40 and 80 million people are thought to have been living in the Americas. Many of them burned trees to make room for crops, leaving behind charcoal deposits that have been found in the soils of Mexico, Nicaragua, and other countries. About 500 years ago, this charcoal...

Could the Amazon Become a Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emitter Rather Than a Sink?

The Amazon has long been conceived of as a CO2 sink because of its mass of vegetation. Researchers are now concerned that drought and deforestation may make it a net emitter. Because of regular measurements of about 100,000 trees, researchers estimate that the Amazon was absorbing about 1.5 billion...

Compilation of International Authorities Supporting Specific Measures to Combat Climate Change Published by Columbia Law School Center for Climate Change Law

Columbia Law School’s Center for Climate Change Law has prepared a Compilation of International Authorities Supporting Specific Measures to Combat Climate Change . The document has been compiled to show the authority found for various specific measures that will help combat climate change and its...