Native trees key to cooling climate: Extensive clearing of native trees is making Australian droughts hotter and is an under-recognised factor in climate change, research shows. The study by researchers from the University of Queensland and Queensland’s Department of Natural Resources and Water shows that land clearing made the 2002-3 drought in eastern Australia 2°C hotter. The research also found average summer rainfall has decreased by between 4-12% in eastern Australia and by 4-8% in southwest Western Australia because of land clearing. ABC Science

No more fun on the Autobahn?: You could almost hear the brakes being slammed on across Germany. If there is anything Germans love more than their luxury cars, it’s driving those cars fast. So the proposal by one of Germany’s governing parties to introduce a speed limit on Germany’s famous , the only highways in the developed world (outside the Isle of Man) that don’t restrict speed, is meeting with serious resistance. Under the proposal, approved by the Social Democratic Party (SPD) at a convention this weekend, Germans would be required to keep to within a 130 kph (about 80 mph) on the regional highways in order to save the planet — “a fast and unbureaucratic path to climate protection,” according to a statement from the party. Time

Ozone set to harm world vegetation and economy: The spread of ozone, a greenhouse gas, could inflict serious damage on vegetation in many places, cutting up to 12 percent off the value of global crops by 2100 and hurting the world economy, a study said on Monday. While hotter temperatures and increases in carbon dioxide from fossil fuels could help vegetation in northern temperate regions, those changes would be undermined by damage to world crops from higher ozone levels, the researchers said. Reuters

Benn announces ‘stronger’ climate change bill: The government today announced a “stronger, more effective and more transparent” climate change bill, following a period of public consultation and scrutiny. The environment secretary, Hilary Benn, said in a speech at Kew Gardens that the amended bill was a “ground-breaking blueprint” to help lower Britain’s carbon emissions and would strengthen the country’s position in response to climate change.  Mr Benn said: “We need to step up the fight against climate change and we need to do it fast. The draft bill we set out earlier this year and have now refined is a ground-breaking blueprint for moving the UK towards ea low carbon economy.” Guardian

Avoided deforestation beats timber and palm oil: Indonesia could more than double its tax revenue by protecting forests and selling the resulting carbon emission credits instead of timber and palm oil, a University of Michigan researcher told Bloomberg. Gabriel Thoumi, a consultant and fellow at the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, estimates that carbon credits would generate $515 million a year in tax revenue starting in 2013 for the Indonesian government. By comparison, tax revenue from logging and palm oil is presently around $258 million a year. Monga Bay

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