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:: WMO Annual Climate Statement Confirms 2012 as Among Top Ten Warmest Years

The World Meteorological Organization’s Statement on the Status of the Global Climate says that 2012 joined the ten previous years as one of the warmest — at ninth place — on record despite the cooling influence of a La Niña episode early in the year.

:: CO2 removal can lower costs of climate protection

Directly removing CO2 from the air has the potential to alter the costs of climate change mitigation. It could allow prolonging greenhouse-gas emissions from sectors like transport that are difficult, thus expensive, to turn away from using fossil fuels. And it may help to constrain the financial burden on future generations, a study now published by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) shows. It focuses on the use of biomass for energy generation, combined with carbon capture and storage (CCS).

:: Sea level rise: Jeopardy for terrestrial biodiversity on islands

Model calculations predict a sea level rise of about one meter by the end of this century and of up to five and a half meters by the year 2500. Until now there are few studies on the potential impacts of a rising sea level on biodiversity. Florian Wetzel and colleagues of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna together with Walter Jetz of Yale University, USA have now published modelling results for the Southeast Asia and Pacific regions. Their results show that many terrestrial vertebrates are vulnerable to sea level rise and the risk of extinction is highest for endemics found only on certain islands and already endangered species. Their findings are published online in the journal Global Change Biology.

:: Ways of a new water policy 4/4

A vision for the future: if the Bundestag, i.e. German Parliament, passes a water conservation law that requires builders to install efficient fixtures, promotes private retrofits such as water-saving showers, toilets, washing machines and dishwashers and demands a water penny from large consumers, we will soon consume only half as much water as we do today. Every year 25,000 liters of water per capita would thus be saved, i.e. 250,000 liters in ten years. A family of four would save a million liters of water without sacrificing any comfort.

:: Rare constellation of clouds and warm air allowed record-breaking 2012 ice melt in Greenland

Thin, low-lying clouds over the central Greenland Ice Sheet last July allowed the sun’s energy to warm the surface of the ice, while at the same time trapping infrared radiation near the surface which led to additional warming. This combination played a significant role in last summer's record-breaking melt, according to a new study by scientists at NOAA, the Universities of Wisconsin, Idaho and Colorado as well as at the Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL. The results of the study are published now in Nature.

:: Water in trouble 3/4

Even in today’s water-rich Central Europe we are heading for a water shortage. Our water is being used, contaminated and wasted. Poison in water, chemical waste, fertilizers and air pollution threaten our most important means of survival.

:: So water is more than H2O 2/4

All founders of religions, philosophers and wisdom teachers from all periods and civilizations knew about that. The wonderful young man from Nazareth, an ecologist even 2,000 years ago, said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” Responsible handling of water is religious service. And to those who wanted to follow him, ecologically-minded Jesus called out; “Be springs of living water.” He did not speak of impure or contaminated water. Parson Kneipp taught in the 19th century: “Aqua sanat – water heals!“

:: Water is becoming more precious than gold 1/4

Water shortage is the logical consequence of climate change, which Angela Merkel calls “the question of survival for mankind”. In Central Europe we are not suffering from thirst – not yet! In Africa, however, 15 million people are currently on the run for the nearest water hole. 1.1 billion people worldwide have no access to clean drinking water. It could be over 3 billion by the middle of the century, according to a United Nations estimate. Water is becoming more precious than gold - according to a study conducted by the UN about the future of water. In 40 years there will be 9 billion people. The world is facing a historic water shortage.

:: Waste Dump at the End of the World

Ecologists propose managing strategies to protect the Antarctic. On their mission to the moon in 1969 the Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin created arguably the most famous footprints ever. Since the time the astronauts of the Apollo 11 Mission stepped onto the surface of our satellite their footprints remain almost unchanged. And as no breath of wind will ever be able to blow them away they will be visible forever.

:: Renewable energy: A choice, not a foregone conclusion

The future of renewable energy is a choice, not a foregone conclusion. The recently launched REN21 Renewables Global Futures Report (GFR) presents the range of credible energy options. REN21 launched its new flagship publication, the REN21 Renewables Global Futures Report (GFR) at the Abu Dhabi International Renewable Energy Conference (ADIREC), produced by REN21 in co-operation with ISEP, the Institute for Sustainable Energy Policy of Japan.

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