Venice offers lessons on coping with rising seas: As the Earth warms up, rising sea levels will increase the threat of storm surges and flooding. In some places, that will make existing problems worse. Venice, Italy, offers a glimpse at what may lie ahead. For years now, Venice has topped the world’s most endangered cities list. Built 1,300 years ago on mudflats in the center of a lagoon, the sinking city is subject to increasingly frequent winter flooding, from high tides known as “acqua alta” in Italian. A major engineering project has now begun aimed at protecting the Venetian lagoon from rising sea levels, but most Venetians seem to take high water in stride. NPR

Unions urged to wage green fight: Trade unions around the world should work together to urge businesses, governments and society as a whole to conserve resources and protect the environment to ensure sustainable development, President Hu Jintao said Monday. “Realizing sustainable development and making conservation efforts are related to the fundamental interests of people around the world and to the immediate interests of its vast number of workers,” Hu said. China Daily 

A scramble to understand Greenland’s melting ice sheets: The ancient frozen dome cloaking Greenland is so vast that pilots have crashed into what they thought was a cloud bank spanning the horizon. Flying over it, one can scarcely imagine that this ice could erode fast enough to raise sea levels dangerously any time soon. Along the flanks in spring and summer, however, the picture is very different. For a lengthening string of warm years, a lacework of blue lakes and rivulets of meltwater have been spreading ever higher on the ice cap. The melting surface darkens, absorbing up to four times as much energy from the sun as unmelted snow, which reflects sunlight. Natural drainpipes, called moulins, carry water from the surface into the depths, in some places reaching bedrock. The process slightly, but measurably, lubricates and accelerates the grinding passage of ice toward the sea. International Herald Tribune

Global warming decision on polar bears delayed: The United States delayed a decision on whether global warming threatens polar bears, saying on Monday new data and public comment required more time. Environmentalists vowed to sue for quicker action. The deadline for deciding whether to list the big white bears as threatened under the Endangered Species Act is Wednesday but Dale Hall, head of the Fish and Wildlife Service, told reporters it would take as much as a month more to analyze all the information. This is the first time global warming has been a factor in proposing threatened status for any U.S. species, Hall said, and that has added to the complexity of the decision. Reuters

Climate change and frog deaths: Scientists became aware of extinctions in various frog species in the 1980s, when J. Alan Pounds and colleagues reported the disappearances of golden toads (Bufo periglenes) and harlequin frogs (Atelopus) in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve of Costa Rica. It wasn’t until the late 1990s that researchers found a suspect for the mysterious case of global frog declines: an infectious disease, chytridiomycosis, caused by the chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis … They concluded that climate change is creating an environment more favorable to the chytrid fungus, thus contributing to amphibian extinction – a conclusion that some celebrate as essential progress in the dialogue of climate change, whereas others consider a leap to the wrong conclusion. The Scientist