Warming menaces Italian wine: Imagine a world where Chianti wine is made in Scandinavia. It could come to just that by the end of the century, experts in Italy warn, if global warming continues unchecked. A study by Florence University linking the effects of rain and temperature to wine production found that increasingly high temperatures and intense rains are likely to threaten the quality of Tuscan wines. Washington Post

PM asleep as time runs out: Addressing climate change is about securing Australia’s future, but the Howard Government seems more interested in rewriting the past. 11 years of inaction in the face of Australia’s greatest environmental challenge is not a proud record. It’s no wonder the Government is pressing the panic button and trying to sell itself as an environmental saviour. Peter Garret on News.com.au

Teeter totters and tipping points: The thrill and danger of a teeter-totter is based on it having a sensitive balance point. This spot, or tipping point, has many analogies in science and culture. It is that dramatic moment when something seems to happen all at once. Not slowly and steadily, like knitting a sweater, but quickly and unexpectedly, like the breaching of a dam. Huffington Post

Balloon technology could cut cost of solar energy 90% by 2010: With high energy prices and mounting concerns over human-induced climate change, there is intense interest in renewable energy, especially solar, which produces no pollution and is readily available in the form of sunlight. In recent years, however, the solar energy market has been hampered by supply shortages of refined silicon, the critical resource needed for solar cell fabrication. Monga Bay

Organic farming: not sustainable?: I know a person who refuses to eat any food that is not sourced within 150 miles of where she lives, in Northern California. That’s hardcore “slow food” radicalism, a natural outgrowth of the organic farming movement that has put down such deep roots in the region. She might have a hard time with a comprehensive new research report compiled by the Manchester School of Business for the United Kingdom’s Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, “Environmental Impacts of Food Production and Consumption.” Salon

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey