Some Friday afternoon news and open thread.
The Guardian reports Cyclone Sidr kills more than 600 in Bangladesh. “Relief workers today struggled to reach devastated parts of Bangladesh after a powerful cyclone ripped through the country, leaving a trail of destruction that claimed more than 600 lives. Cyclone Sidr hit the country’s south-west coast yesterday after racing up the Bay of Bengal at a speed of 150mph. The winds triggered a five metre (15ft) high tidal wave that washed away three coastal towns. The government’s disaster agency put the confirmed number of dead at 606, but there were fears the death toll would rise considerably.”
BBC News reports IPCC to warn of ‘abrupt’ warming. “Climate change may bring “abrupt and irreversible” impacts, the UN’s climate advisory panel is set to announce. Delegates to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) agreed a summary of its landmark report during overnight negotiations here. Discussions were said to have been robust, with the US and other delegations keen to moderate language.” Typical and unacceptable.
Among its top-line conclusions are that climate change is “unequivocal”, that humankind’s emissions of greenhouse gases are more than 90% likely to be the main cause, and that impacts can be reduced at reasonable cost.
Reuters adds that “running to over 3,000 pages, the reports on the causes, consequences and possible remedies for climate change are being turned into a summary for policy-makers to make progress on the issue at the Bali meeting which is expected to lay down the climate change agenda after Kyoto’s first period ends in 2012.”
AFP reports “The report will be officially adopted on Saturday, followed by a press conference attended by United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon… After Saturday, attention shifts to a key meeting in Bali, Indonesia, where governments must set down a “roadmap” for negotiations culminating in a deal to slash carbon emissions and help developing nations cope with climate change.”
An American power company with close financial links to President George Bush has been named as one of the world’s top producers of global warming pollution.
The first-ever worldwide database of such pollution also reveals the rapid growth in global-warming emissions by power plants in China, South Africa and India. Power plants already produce 40 per cent of US greenhouse gas and 25 per cent of the world’s.
But it is the enormous carbon footprint of Southern Company – among the largest financiers of Republican Party politicians – which has raised eyebrows. Southern’s employees handed George Bush $217,047 to help him get elected twice, and they and the company have contributed an extraordinary $6.2m to Republican campaigns since 1990 according to the Centre for Responsive Politics.
A single Southern Company plant in Juliette, Georgia already emits more carbon dioxide annually that Brazil’s entire power sector. The company is in the top two of America’s dirtiest utility polluters and sixth worst in the world.
The New York Times reports a Federal appeals court rejects fuel standards on trucks. “A federal appeals court here rejected the Bush administration’s year-old fuel-economy standards for light trucks and sport utility vehicles on Thursday, saying that they were not tough enough because regulators had failed to thoroughly assess the economic impact of tailpipe emissions that contribute to climate change. A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in San Francisco, voided the new regulations for 2008-2011 model year vehicles and told the Transportation Department to produce new rules taking into account the value of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The court, siding with 4 environmental groups and 13 states and cities, also asked the government to explain why it still treated light trucks – which include pickups, sport utility vehicles and minivans – more mildly than passenger cars.”
So, what else is happening?