Kyoto may protect Tasmanian forests: Lobby group, Environment Tasmania hopes the state’s native forests will benefit from Australia signing the Kyoto protocol. The newly elected Labor Government has begun the process of ratifying the protocol on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. Environment Tasmania’s chairman, Phill Pullinger says Australia will find it difficult to fulfil its Kyoto obligations without doing more to protect the state’s native forests. He says emissions from logging in Tasmania’s native forests are equivalent to what would be produced by 4.5 million cars, and Australia will now have a formal obligation to cut emissions. ABC Online

Water shortages likely trigger for wars: A struggle by nations to secure sources of clean water will be “potent fuel” for war, the first Asia-Pacific Water Summit heard yesterday. The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon, told delegates from across the region that the planet faced a water crisis that was especially troubling for Asia. High population growth, rising consumption, pollution and poor water management posed significant threats, he said, adding that climate change was also making “a bad situation worse”. Times Online

A climate lesson from down under: On Nov. 25, 13 million people on Earth’s driest continent cast votes that shifted the global politics of perhaps the most challenging geopolitical issue: climate change. Australian citizens — the world’s highest per capita consumers of coal — elected a new government to be led by Kevin Rudd, who campaigned prominently on addressing the climate crisis. Aside from the Bush administration, John Howard’s ousted conservative Liberal-National Coalition had been the only other government of a developed nation that refused to ratify the Kyoto treaty. (New Australian Prime Minister Rudd signed off on the pact Monday.) Politico

Burning issue of sun tan lotion: The world’s rich countries were condemned for spending more in a month on suntan lotion than they spend protecting the poorest from global warming. About £32.5million has been paid into a United Nations pot to help developing countries adapt to climate change, according to an Oxfam study. Britain has promised £9.8million, which is less than half the £23.2million, on average, spent by sunbathers every month to stop themselves getting burned. The US spends £40.3million a month on sun-care products but has not offered a penny to the fund. Metro 

Climate risks to global agriculture are underestimated: Vulnerability of global agricultural to climate change may be underestimated by experts, warns a trio of papers published in week’s issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The research says that “progressive changes predicted to stem from 1- to 5-degree C temperature rises in coming decades fail to account for seasonal extremes of heat, drought or rain, multiplier effects of spreading diseases or weeds, and other ecological upsets,” according to a statement from Columbia University’s Earth Institute. Monga Bay