Youth can be the vanguard for action on climate change: As Australian of the Year for 2007 I got to talk to a lot of school and university students. I was frequently astonished at their depth of knowledge about environmental matters and was struck by their conviction that society as a whole needs to do something about these environmental problems — and soon. They understood, it seems to me, in a very immediate way, how unsustainable practices were robbing them of their future. Some were angry, others fatalistic, but many more seemed determined to change things. Mixed in with these feelings was a considerable dollop of scepticism about how seriously their elders were taking the issue. Tim Flannery in The Age

Climate focus ‘ignores wildlife’: Many efforts to curb climate change have paid little attention to conservation or helping the world’s poor, a think-tank has warned. A paper by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) said bad policy threatened biodiversity and made poor nations more vulnerable. The authors called for projects tackling global problems to work more closely together in the future. The findings coincide with the start of a UN biodiversity meeting in Rome. BBC

Water shortages threaten human food supply: If more and more countries, in Asia and elsewhere, find themselves very short of food in the near future, blame water shortage for the situation, says Henrylito Tacio, in this report from the Philippines. Water for agriculture is critical for food security,” says Dr. Mark W. Rosegrant, a senior research fellow at the Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). “The link between water and food is strong,” says Lester Brown, president of Earth Policy Institute, also based in Washington, D.C. “We drink, in one form or another, nearly 4 litres of water per day. But the food we consume each day requires at least 2,000 litres to produce, 500 times as much.” People and planet

Britain’s climate bill target to be reviewed by year end: Britain’s goal of cutting emissions of climate warming carbon dioxide by 60 percent by 2050 will be reviewed by the end of the year and may be raised, Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said on Monday. The goal is at the heart of the Climate Change Bill currently going through parliament which is expected to become law within three months. “The scientific evidence has moved rapidly, and as part of a new global climate deal, developed countries may have to cut their emissions by as much as 80 per cent by 2050. That’s why we announced a review of the UK target last year,” Benn said. Reuters

Shark species face extinction amid overfishing and appetite for fins: Nine more species of shark are to be added to the endangered list as scientists warn that oceans are being emptied of the fish by overfishing and finning. The scalloped hammerhead shark, which has declined by 99% over the past 30 years in some parts of the world, is particularly vulnerable and will be declared globally endangered on the World Conservation Union (IUCN) list. “Sharks are definitely at the top of the list for marine fishes that could go extinct in our lifetimes,” said Julia Baum of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California and a member of IUCN shark specialist group. “If we carry on the way that we are, we’re looking at a really high risk of extinction for some of these shark species within the next few decades.” Guardian

Peter Fray

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