Howard hits back at criticism of his climate change policy: Prime Minister John Howard yesterday hit back at suggestions from the EU that his Government has a “negative attitude” towards climate change and had refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol for political reasons. Speaking on Australian radio, an angry Mr Howard said: “You’ve got the spokesman for a group of countries lecturing us about not having signed Kyoto. Yet the great bulk of the countries on whose behalf he speaks are falling well behind their Kyoto targets and are doing less well in meeting them. Our answer … is: Look to your own affairs, get your countries complying with the targets you have proclaimed.” AHN

Driven to extremes: health effects of climate change: Last year was one for the record books. In 2006, the United States experienced the warmest surface temperature since 1895. It was also the eleventh year since 1995 to rank among the warmest worldwide ever recorded. The decade prior saw many other extreme weather events. In 2003, a brutal summer heat wave in Europe killed at least 22,000 people. In 1998, Hurricane Mitch stalled over Central America and released six feet of rain, causing massive mudslides and claiming 11,000 lives. After that storm, Honduras reported thousands of cases of cholera, malaria, and dengue fever. YubaNet

Will global warming kill the Amazon?: One of the most profound predicted impacts of climate change was discussed in a landmark conference at Oriel College by scientists, conservationists and policymakers from Europe and North and South America. They considered key research showing that although intact forests are fairly resistant to climate change, with partial deforestation the entire landscape could become drier and a domino effect could occur producing a ‘tipping point’ affecting the whole forest. Science Daily

Penguins join climate change investigation: Scientists are taking the unorthodox step of using king penguins to help determine the true extent of climate change. The University of Birmingham says that mapping the behaviour of the Antarctic birds to better understand global warming is the reverse of the standard practice of measuring the effects of climate change upon fish patterns or avian migration. In The News

How has climate change affected you?:  The February report by the International Panel on Climate Change states that “warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global mean sea level”. While such large-scale changes to our planet cannot be easily detected by the casual observer, they can spot unusual weather and changes occurring in their local environment. From December until March, the BBC News website solicited comments from around the world to find out how climate change has affected people where they live. BBC


Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey