Tackle planet’s problems or humanity at risk, says UN: The survival of humanity could be under threat by the failure to address global problems such as climate change, extinction of species and unsustainable development, a UN report warned yesterday. The United Nations Environment Programme’s fourth Global Environment Outlook said the response to cutting greenhouse gases from power and transport had been “woefully inadequate” in the face of global warming. Scotsman

Climate change’s uncertainty principle: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its first report in 1990 predicted that temperatures would warm by 0.5 degree Fahrenheit (0.3 degree Celsius) per decade if no efforts were made to restrain greenhouse gas emissions. But the panel of scientists and other experts was wrong: By 2001, the group estimated that average temperatures would increase by 2.7 to 8.1 degrees F (1.5 to 4.5 degrees C) in the 21st century, and they raised the lower end to 3.6 degrees F (2 degrees C) this year in their most recent report. In essence, neither this international team of experts nor any other can say with any certainty just how bad global warming may get. Scientific American

Prince’s plea to save rainforests: The Prince of Wales has called for urgent action to save the remaining rainforests, saying their preservation is vital to combat climate change. He told a WWF dinner at Hampton Court Palace that it was crucial to find ways to make it more profitable to save rainforests than cut them down. Prince Charles said the destruction was happening at a “truly terrifying pace”. He announced the Prince’s Rainforests Project to find solutions that can be put in place within 18 months. BBC

Mystery bee-killing disease returns to Florida: Unexplained honeybee deaths have recently started showing up in Florida, the same state where the mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder was first discovered a year ago, the Agriculture Department’s top bee scientist said Thursday. Jeffrey Pettis, research leader of the department’s Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, Md., said it is too early to say if another round of bee die-offs has started. The insect plague devastated thousands of commercial bee hives in several states last year, posing a threat to crops that depend on bees for pollination. Atlanta Journal Constitution

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Peter Fray
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