Climate change threatens human rights of millions-UN: Climate change threatens the human rights of millions of people who are at risk of losing access to housing, food and clean water unless governments intervene early to counter its effects, experts said on Tuesday. At a conference on climate change and migration, United Nations officials said rising sea levels and intense storms, droughts and floods could force scores of people from their homes and off their lands — some permanently. Reuters

Scientists read Antarctic mud for climate change insight: With summers both intense and ephemeral, life here is a race against the revolving seasons. Summer daylight never ceases at this US research base on Ross Island, just off the coast of Antarctica. The sun runs endless laps around the sky, and for those who live here, work never stops. This blending of day and night centers on the 24-hour stratigraphy lab. Inside the nondescript metal building perched on stilts, geologists from around the world indulge, of all things, their collective love of petrified mud. Two shifts of scientists work around the clock examining a 4-inch-wide column of stone – a new section of which is delivered daily from a drill that, by the end of the season, will have penetrated three-quarters of a mile into the ocean bed. Christian Science Monitor

Small Amazon farmers especially vulnerable to climate change: Communicating the impact of climate change to small farmers in the Amazon will be key in helping them adapt to higher temperatures, more frequent and intense drought, and greater incidence of forest fires forecast for the region, according to a paper published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. Conducting surveys in the Amazon state of Para, Indiana University anthropologists Eduardo S. Brondizio and Emilio F. Moran found that small farmers had poor recollection of the severe el Niño-induced drought of 1997-1998, helping explain why they had failed to adapt their cultivation methods to the increased risk of drought. Brondizio and Moran attribute the lack of understanding to the influence of migration and family turnover in the region. Monga Bay 

Green crusades lot of talk: Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama have called for strict mandatory limits to control greenhouse gases but they aren’t leading by example — each has failed to pay for offsets to cover all of his campaign’s carbon emissions. Campaign finance records for 2007 show that neither of the two leading presidential candidates has spent money to independently cover his campaign’s “carbon footprint” — the amount of carbon emissions emitted by the planes and vehicles the candidates and their staffs use for travel, or by the computers and headquarters needed to run a presidential campaign. Washington Times

Big foot: A little more than a year ago, Sir Terry Leahy, who is the chief executive of the Tesco chain of supermarkets, Britain’s largest retailer, delivered a speech to a group called the Forum for the Future, about the implications of climate change. Leahy had never before addressed the issue in public, but his remarks left little doubt that he recognized the magnitude of the problem. “I am not a scientist,” he said. “But I listen when the scientists say that, if we fail to mitigate climate change, the environmental, social, and economic consequences will be stark and severe. . . . There comes a moment when it is clear what you must do. I am determined that Tesco should be a leader in helping to create a low-carbon economy. In saying this, I do not underestimate the task. It is to take an economy where human comfort, activity, and growth are inextricably linked with emitting carbon and to transform it into one which can only thrive without depending on carbon.” The New Yorker

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey