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Chinese and Foreigners Take Part in Earth Hour at the Forbidden City in Beijing

Chinese and Foreigners Take Part in Earth Hour at the Forbidden City in Beijing

The Forbidden City’s lights are shut off for an hour in Beijing on March 27, 2010. An estimated one billion people in 121 countries are expected to take part in Earth Hour, a time set aside on Saturday to turn off unnecessary lights for one hour to raise awareness about energy conservation. UPI/Stephen Shaver

Date Taken: March 27, 2010

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Thirty States to Observe Earth Hour

WASHINGTON, March 26 (UPI) — Thirty U.S. states have agreed to darken public buildings for an hour Saturday to draw attention to global warming, officials said.

The states, up from eight last year, plan to darken governors’ mansions and other buildings and monuments as part of Earth Hour, the World Wildlife Fund’s call to action on climate change.

“It reflects the conviction of people around the world that climate change is real, and we need to do something about it,” said Carter Roberts, head of the fund.

Earth Hour has spread globally to 87 countries since starting in Australia in 2007, USA Today reported Friday. This year, 2,200 businesses, including Walgreens, and millions of homes are expected to shut off all but essential lights at 8:30 p.m. local time, Roberts said.

Monuments taking part were to include New York’s Empire State Building, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, Seattle’s Space Needle, the Las Vegas Strip, Niagara Falls and the Willis Tower, formerly the Sears Tower, in Chicago.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Bin Laden Condemns U.S. for Climate Change

DOHA, Qatar, Jan. 29 (UPI) — Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden condemned the United States and other nations, saying Friday in a new audio tape they are responsible for global warming.

Bin Laden criticized former President George W. Bush for rejecting the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas emissions and condemned global corporations, reported al-Jazeera, which said it obtained the tape.

“This is a message to the whole world about those responsible for climate change and its repercussions — whether intentionally or unintentionally — and about the action we must take,” bin Laden said. “Speaking about climate change is not a matter of intellectual luxury — the phenomenon is an actual fact.”

The tape follows the release earlier this week of a tape in which bin Laden hailed a Nigerian man accused in the failed attempt to blow up a U.S.-bound airliner on Christmas, the satellite television network based in Qatar said.

In his latest tape, bin Laden said industrial states were responsible for climate change, “yet the majority of those states have signed the Kyoto Protocol and agreed to curb the emission of harmful gases.”

To retaliate, bin Laden called for a boycott of the U.S. dollar, saying “we … should try to get rid of this currency as early as possible. I am certain that such actions will have grave repercussions and huge impact.”

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Urban 'green' Space May Aid Global Warming

IRVINE, Calif., Jan. 26 (UPI) — A University of California-Irvine study suggests urban “green” areas might be aggravating the formation of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.

Dispelling the notion that such “green” spaces help counteract greenhouse gas emissions, the researchers found — at least in Southern California — total emissions would be lower if lawns did not exist.

Turf grass lawns help remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis and store it as organic carbon in soil, making such lawns important “carbon sinks.” However, the scientists found greenhouse gas emissions from fertilizer production, mowing, leaf blowing and other lawn management practices are four times greater than the amount of carbon stored by ornamental grass in parks.

The research results are important to greenhouse gas legislation, said the study’s lead author, Amy Townsend-Small.

“We need this kind of carbon accounting to help reduce global warming,” Townsend-Small said. “The current trend is to count the carbon sinks and forget about the greenhouse gas emissions, but it clearly isn’t enough.”

She said while previous studies have documented lawns storing carbon, the new study is the first to compare carbon sequestration to nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide emissions from lawn grooming practices.

The findings appear in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Causes, Global Warming & Climate Change0 Comments

Taiwan's Temperatures and Emissions Rise on Impact of Air Pollution

TAIPEI, Taiwan, Jan. 4 (UPI) — Taiwan’s temperatures have risen by an average of 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit over the past century, according to a government study.

Despite Taiwan’s rise in temperatures, sunny hours in the country have fallen. The decline — attributed to air pollution and suspended particles that had blocked the sunshine — ranges from 176 hours per year in the north to 552 hours per year in central Taiwan, the Central News Agency reports.

Taiwan’s sea level has risen an average of 1.18 inches over the past 10 years, or about 0.11 of an inch each year, according to Fan Kuang-lung, a professor at National Taiwan University’s Institute of Oceanography.

Taiwan is becoming increasingly vulnerable to climate change due to global warming and the pumping of underground water for farming and household use, said Fan, CNA reports. “Flooding will become the norm in some western tidal land areas,” he said.

Taiwan has also recorded the world’s highest growth in greenhouse gas emissions — 138 percent — over the past 16 years, said Liang Chi-yuan, a government minister.

But Taiwan will have to spend twice as much as other countries as a percentage of its gross domestic product to meet international carbon emissions reduction targets, said Yang Jih-chang, a senior adviser to the Industrial Technology Research Institute.

Because it has few natural resources and its industrial sector accounts for more than 50 percent of annual GDP, Yang estimates it would cost Taiwan $3.1 billion to $4.65 billion annually to meet the International Energy Agency’s recommendation that countries spend up to 0.5 percent of GDP to keep greenhouse gases below 450 parts per million by 2020.

Yang Chi-yuan, an associate professor at Chinese Culture University, said the government should not plot a carbon-reduction target using a top-down centralized process. He suggests instead that Taiwan allow agencies in charge of transportation, industrial and economic affairs to set targets based on practical abilities.

“We need not follow European and American countries in setting carbon reduction targets because their regulations do not necessarily meet Taiwan’s needs,” Yang Chi-yuan said, CNA reports.

Environmental Protection Administration Minister Stephen Shu-hung Shen said the government has passed laws on energy management and renewable energy development, admitting that more work still needs to be done.

“Once the statutes governing energy taxes and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions are enacted, our legal framework on carbon reduction will be complete,” Shen said.

He urged Taiwan Power Co. to reduce the percentage of fossil fuels in its energy generation.

Copyright 2010 by United Press International

Posted in Air Pollutants, Air, Atmosphere, & Weather, Atmospheric Science, Causes, Global Warming & Climate Change, Tidal, Transportation0 Comments

U.N Climate Change Summit Considered a 'Failure' to European Leaders

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Dec. 21 (UPI) — The climate change summit in Denmark, expected to produce a historic document, fell way short of the mark, officials and organizations said.

European leaders called the two-week gathering at Copenhagen “disappointing” while environmental organizations characterized it as a “failure,” the EUobserver.com reported.

After nearly two weeks of stalled talks on a treaty to succeed the Kyoto Protocol for curbing greenhouse gases, the countries approved a five-page document that recognizes the need to limit global temperatures from rising no more than 2 degrees Celsius over 10 years, but doesn’t require signatories to take measures to address climate change.

As explained by U.S. President Barack Obama Friday, countries will list “concrete commitments” into the document’s appendix, and would be subject to international consultation and analysis, leading to a hoped-for more binding document later. Among other things, the accord also sets a goal of delivering $100 billion annually to developing countries to help them address climate change.

Fredrik Reinfeldt, Sweden’s prime minister and sitting as EU’s six-month rotating president, said the conference’s document won’t counter global warming.

“Let’s be honest. This is not a perfect agreement. It will not solve the climate threat,” he told EUobserver.com.

The agreement, while a step forward was “clearly below our ambitions,” European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said. “I will not hide my disappointment.”

The United States bullied developing countries “into backing a plan that completely undermines the existing U.N. process,” said Andy Atkins, Friends of the Earth executive director. “This summit has been a complete failure — the climate accord should be sent to the recycling bin.”

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Causes, Effects Of Air Pollution, International Relations & Treaties, Organizations, Other, Policy, Law, & Government, Recycling0 Comments

U.S. President Barack Obama Returns from the Copenhagen Summit

U.S. President Barack Obama Returns from the Copenhagen Summit.

U.S. President Barack Obama arrives on Air Force One at Andrew Air Force Base at 1 a.m December 19, 2009 during a snow storm after attending the Climate Conference in Copenhagen. The climate conference agreed to recognize the political compromise that Obama brokered with China and a few other emerging powers. Up to two feet of snow is forecast for Washington, DC over the weekend. UPI/Aude Guerrucci/Pool

Date Taken: December 19, 2009

Posted in Causes, Effects Of Air Pollution, International Relations & Treaties, Other0 Comments

U.S. President Obama Meets with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in Copenhagen

U.S. President Obama Meets with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in Copenhagen

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) meets with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao during a bilateral at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, on December 18, 2009. UPI/Pete Souza/The White House

Date Taken: December 18, 2009

Posted in Causes, Effects Of Air Pollution0 Comments

United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen

United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen

Decorations are seen during a United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, on December 18, 2009. UPI/Anatoli Zhdanov

Date Taken: December 18, 2009

Posted in Causes, Effects Of Air Pollution0 Comments

United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen

United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen

France’s President Nicholas Sarkozy arrives at a plenary session of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, on December 18, 2009. UPI/Anatoli Zhdanov

Date Taken: December 18, 2009

Posted in Causes, Effects Of Air Pollution0 Comments

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