There’s good news in a bad drought: We’ve just clocked up nine consecutive months when the southern oscillation index has been negative. For climate watchers, that usually means bad news for eastern Australia: drought. But for Kevin Rudd, it’s good news. The index – a calculation of swings in the air pressure difference between Tahiti and Darwin – is a simple but surprisingly useful predictor of seasonal conditions. SMH

CSIROs horror climate forecast: Heat waves that kill thousands, gigantic bushfires and regular 100-year storms are part of a frightening new climate change forecast for Australia. A leaked CSIRO report into the impact of global warming predicts a century of climatic horrors for Tasmania and the rest of Australia. News.com.au

Global warming cooks rice’s prospects: There’s a silent killer stalking your bowl of rice: heat. Global warming is not just changing the climate drastically the world over, it is actively threatening to lower the production of India’s – and Asia’s – key staple by at least 7% (over pre-determined levels) by 2020 and to a maximum of 60% by the end of the century. Economic Times (India)

China fails to meet environmental goals: China’s environmental watchdog admitted on Monday that the country had failed to reach any of its pollution control goals for 2006 and had fallen further behind as the economy picked up speed. The State Environmental Protection Agency said faster than expected economic growth meant that sulfur dioxide emissions increased by nearly 1.8 percent, or 463,000 tonnes, over the previous year, according to a report on its website. Washington Post

The US$25 Million Virgin Earth Challenge: Sir Richard Branson’s US$25 Million Virgin Earth Challenge focuses on the biggest single problem faced by humanity today – global warming. It steps across the national boundaries which have prevented anyone a full appreciation of the damage we have done to the environment and the gravity of the consequences of messing with the planet’s ecosystem. gizmag.com

Peter Fray

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