UN supports India’s position on climate change: The United Nations on Wednesday supported India’s position on climate change and pulled up the United States for its failure to do enough to curb the green house gas (GHG) emissions. “No, I don’t think that the US is doing enough on either front to curb emissions. In that manner, not a single industrialised country is doing sufficient to tackle the climate change,” Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, told reporters in New Delhi. The Times of India

Climate change becomes a U.S. Republican issue too: The U.S. fight against climate change isn’t just for Democrats any more. Democrats used to own the environmental issue, grabbing votes from party loyalists and independent voters when they stressed their plans to curb global warming. This could be the year Republicans, the party of President George W. Bush, use climate change as a rallying cry at election time. It could also differentiate Republican presidential contenders from Bush administration policies that have left the United States isolated among the world’s biggest developed countries. Reuters

The Chikungunya question: Before the summer of 2007, Castiglione di Cervia, Italy, was known as a quiet village near Ravenna. In July, however, doctors noticed complaints of excruciating joint pain, fever, headaches, and rash. Their patients were experiencing a fever called “chikungunya”; the word originates in the Makonde language in Tanzania and Mozambique and means “to dry up or become contorted.” This epidemic had two years previously raged unexpectedly through islands in the Indian Ocean. But it was new to Europe. Slate

Israeli find could help plants adapt to climate change: Israeli scientists said on Wednesday they had identified genes that help plants weather harsh conditions, a discovery that could lead to the development of crops better able to endure climate change. The study, carried out by scientists at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, found that mutating one of two genes in a model plant increased its ability to survive better in desert environments. “We manipulated these genes to enhance the plant’s own tolerance systems, making the plant more resistant to salinity, heat and drought,” Simon Barak, the author of the study, said in a statement released by the university. AFP

Peter Fray

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