Will nations build on climate-change momentum of 2007?: If 2007 was the year when an international scientific – and popular – momentum built around tackling global warming, this year is likely to be one of boosting that commitment. Last year, three major reports from the UN-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change covered the science of global warming, its potential effects, and ways for addressing the challenge. A special UN meeting in September ahead of climate-change talks in Bali last month was matched by a Washington-led initiative for major carbon-emitting nations. In 2008, expect developing nations to play a more active role in negotiations for the post-Kyoto Protocol period, (as they did in Bali). Will the Bush administration steal a march this year on the UN climate talks? Christian Science Monitor

Climate change ‘will increase health risk’ to rural Australians: Mounting evidence of global warming has led experts to warn of greater health risks for Australians who live in rural and remote areas. A paper from the Department of Public Health at the University of Adelaide warns altered weather patterns will bring changes in the distribution of diseases. The paper predicts climate change will mean variations in the rates of hospital admissions and the use of ambulance services. National Rural Health Alliance executive director Gordon Gregory says global warming could make people in remote regions more vulnerable. ABC Online

Human activity blamed for decline of coral reefs: Caribbean coral reefs have suffered significant damage from over-fishing and run-off from agricultural land, according to a study of 322 sites across 13 countries. The study provides compelling evidence that proximity to a large human population spells bad news for the survival of reefs. “It is well acknowledged that coral reefs are declining worldwide but the driving forces remain hotly debated,” said author Camilo Mora at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada. “In the Caribbean alone, these losses are endangering a large number of species, from corals to sharks.” He estimates that the reefs provide $4bn in so-called ecosystem services – quantifiable benefits in terms of fishing, tourism and protecting the coast from storms. Guardian

UN climate chief to visit Antarctica: The next report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change should deal with the “frightening” possibility that both Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets start melting at the same time, the chief U.N. climate scientist said Tuesday. The panel, which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Gore, has released four climate assessment reports, including summaries for policymakers that are approved by government representatives. Though there are no firm plans for a fifth report, the panel is still inviting scientists to submit material on glaciers in both the far north and south, IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri said. Associated Press

UK builds recyclable hotel: A British hotel chain is building what is says is the first recyclable hotel constructed from pre-built, container-like crates imported from China, stacked on each other and bolted together. Budget hotel operator Travelodge said on Tuesday the steel modules could be dismantled if necessary at the end of the 120-room hotel’s life and moved elsewhere — and that the model could ultimately be used to build temporary hotels for sporting events or festivals. The modules were imported from China with bathrooms already installed, with windows fitted and furnishings and decorations added once the containers have been put together. But for future hotels, the firm hopes even the furnishing and decoration could be done in China. Reuters