Storm surge swamps Maldives: Waves from an Indian Ocean storm surge swamped dozens of islands in the low-lying Maldives on Tuesday, the Government said. Because the Maldives are on average just 1.5 metres (five feet) above sea level, inhabitants are especially alert to rising waters, fearing the islands may be obliterated within a few generations by rising sea levels brought by global warning. AlertNet

Climate change: shock findings for Victorians: An alarming new report on the impact of climate change in Victoria has warned of risks to some of our most basic services and necessities — including water, electricity, transport, telecommunications and buildings. The report, obtained by The Age ahead of its release, says water supplies and major infrastructure will be “acutely vulnerable” to climate change in coming decades, even if Greenhouse emissions are cut steeply. The Age

Arctic islands invite tourists to see climate woes: A remote chain of Arctic islands is advertising itself as a showcase of bad things to come from global warming.Visitors to Svalbard can see reindeer, seals or polar bears in the Arctic, where UN scientists say warming is happening twice as fast as on the rest of the planet in what may be a portent of changes further south. Local authorities said such visits are less environmentally harmful than Russian-led tours on nuclear ice-breakers or sky-diving trips over the North Pole. Reuters

Clarion Caller: James Hansen, NASA’s top climate expert, believes scientists have an obligation to speak out when their findings have important implications for the public — and he certainly put that belief into practice last year when he told The New York Times that the Bush administration was trying to muzzle his calls for reducing Greenhouse gas emissions. Grist

Environmental concerns mount as palm oil production surges: The booming market for palm oil is driving record production but fueling rising concerns over the environmental impact of the supposedly “green” bioenergy source.
The two leading producers of palm oil, Malaysia and Indonesia, have rapidly expanded palm oil production in recent years, often at the expense of biodiverse rainforests and carbon-rich peatlands that store billions of tons of greenhouse gases.  Monga Bay