Beirut environment conference discusses potential conflict: “Arabs are masters of wasting energy,” Fouad Hamdan, founder of Greenpeace Lebanon, told an audience at the Gefinor Rotana Hotel in Beirut over the weekend. The audience, a mix of Lebanese and foreigners as well as leading environmental researchers, gathered at the hotel for an international conference entitled “Green Wars” that addressed the relationship between environmental issues and potentials for conflict. Hans Gunter Brauch, professor at the Free University of Berlin and a panelist at the conference, said: “The peoples of the Middle East and North Africa face serious environmental threats and a mindset of cooperation is needed toward addressing the effects of global climate change.”– The Daily Star, Lebanon

Sydney water could be irreversibly damaged: Environmentalists say it may be too late to repair serious damage to Sydney’s water catchment, caused by longwall mining in the coalfields south of the city. The New South Wales Government is yet to receive the findings of the independent inquiry into the effects of mining in the southern coalfields, but submissions to the panel raise concerns about possible long-term damage to Sydney’s catchment.ABC

Greenland’s new broccoli crops: It is a global warming story capable of striking fear into the hearts of children: broccoli can now be grown in Greenland. The land synonymous with ice sheets, polar bears and Eskimos has experienced a small but significant increase in temperature which has made it economically viable for the first time in hundreds of years to grow and sell the vegetable locally. The 57,000 inhabitants of the island, the world’s largest, rely on the sea and imports from Denmark for the vast majority of their food. But a one-degree Celsius rise in the temperature of the North Atlantic over the past century has boosted the air temperature in the south of Greenland by about three degrees.– The Scotsman 

Survey reveals people happy to spend in aid of slowing climate change: Millions of people around the world are willing to make personal sacrifices, including paying higher bills, to help redress climate change, a global survey said on Monday. The survey found 83 percent of those questioned believed lifestyle changes would be necessary to cut emissions of climate warming carbon gases. The survey, conducted by two polling organisations for the BBC World Service, covered 22,000 people in 21 countries. In 14 of the 21 countries from Canada to Australia, 61 percent overall said it would be necessary to increase energy costs to encourage conservation and reduce carbon emissions. — Reuters

Mussels could be permanently off the menu: Prized as a luxury treat in the best restaurants and a staple food in the human diet for thousands of years, oysters and mussels are now being threatened by rising levels of carbon dioxide. By the end of the century many popular seafood dishes will disappear from our tables as shellfish become increasingly scarce, scientists warn. They have found that the build up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is causing the oceans to grow more acidic as increasing amounts of the gas dissolve in sea water. This change is reducing the ability of shellfish to make their protective shells. By 2100 some waters are expected to be corrosive enough to cause the shells to dissolve completely, making it impossible for them to survive. — The Telegraph (UK)

Peter Fray

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