Flannery’s plan: buy forests to help environment: Australians could buy a stake in the protection of endangered tropical forests under a groundbreaking scheme being devised by former Australian of the Year Tim Flannery. Professor Flannery outlined his proposal yesterday in a private meeting with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s hand-picked climate change adviser, Professor Ross Garnaut. Professor Flannery — Australia’s most prominent environmental campaigner — wants to set up an internet-based carbon market with a pilot scheme to be run in Papua New Guinea. The Age

Bush to commit $2 billion to climate change fund: The United States will commit $2 billion over the next three years to a new international fund to promote clean energy technologies and fight climate change, President George W. Bush told Congress on Monday in his annual State of the Union speech. “Let us create a new international clean technology fund, which will help developing nations like India and China make greater use of clean energy sources,” Bush said. He said the United States is committed to working with major economies and the United Nations to complete an international agreement that “has the potential to slow, stop and eventually reverse the growth of greenhouse gases.” Reuters

New power generation: Alternative energy sources: The need to find a new generation of fuels has never been greater. Earlier this month, the cost of oil hit $100 a barrel for the first time, leading to sky-high prices at petrol pumps all over the world. And consumption shows no signs of slowing as the new economic powerhouses of China and India continue to develop a seemingly insatiable thirst for the black gold. In smog-choked Beijing alone, more than 1,000 new private cars hit the roads every day – that’s about one every 90 seconds. Independent

China weather chaos a sign of things to come: Don’t tell the thousands of Chinese stuck at railway stations or airports, but the chaos caused by a vicious cold spell afflicting much of China could be just a taste of things to come, experts say. The inclement weather and ensuing problems merely highlight the country’s increasing vulnerability to the extreme weather swings characteristic of global climate change, experts say, and is likely to be repeated in future years. Vast areas of central and southern China have experienced the most severe winter in half a century in the past few days, coming on the heels of one of the warmest winters on record last year. With climate change gaining pace and the planet generally warming up, the social, economic and political impact on China will rise along with the mercury, experts said. AFP

Peter Fray

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