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:: New study on climate history: Arctic sea ice influenced force of the Gulf Stream

The force of the Gulf Stream was significantly influenced by the sea ice situation in the Fram Strait in the past 30,000 years. Scientists at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) come to this conclusion in a new study that appears today in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters. On the basis of biomarkers in deposits on the seafloor, the geologists involved managed for the first time to reconstruct when and how the marine region between Greenland and Svalbard was covered with ice in the past and in what way the Gulf Stream reacted when the sea ice cover suddenly broke up. They concluded that when large amounts of Arctic ice drifted through the Fram Strait to the North Atlantic, the heat transport of the Gulf Stream declined noticeably.

:: Syria: War’s Toll on Women

Activists, Others Detained and Abused by All Sides in the Conflict. Women in Syria have been arbitrarily arrested and detained, physically abused, harassed, and tortured during Syria’s conflict by government forces, pro-government militias, and armed groups opposed to the government, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW Committee) will conduct a review of the situation for Syrian women on July 4, 2014, in Geneva.

:: Energy poverty and access to electricity in the Pacific

Energy poverty is widespread in the Pacific. It is estimated that 70 per cent of households in the region don’t have access to electricity and 85 per cent don’t have access to clean cooking energy technology. These access rates are low by both international and regional standards, being equivalent to those in sub-Saharan Africa and slightly below the average for low income countries. This is despite higher income levels in much of the Pacific. By Matthew Dornan

:: Plunder of timber and fisheries is holding Africa back – Kofi Annan

Africa’s rich natural resources offer a unique opportunity for a breakthrough in improving the lives of Africa’s citizens, says a major new report launched today by Kofi Annan, the former UN Secretary-General, but too often these resources are plundered by corrupt officials and foreign investors. Rising inequality is also blocking Africa from seizing that opportunity, the report shows.

:: Hotspots of climate change impacts in Africa: making sense of uncertainties

Overlapping impacts of climate change such as drought or flooding, declining crop yields or ecosystem damages create hotspots of risk in specific parts of Africa. These are for the first time identified in a study now published by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. The uncertainties in assessing the impacts do not necessarily hamper but can inform development strategies, according to the scientists. Likelihood and potential severity of impacts can be weighed to decide on suitable adaptation measures.

:: Who benefits from genetically modified crops?

Global acceptance of genetically modified (GM) crops is in decline, with the number of countries cultivating falling for the first time, according to a new report from Friends of the Earth International released. Poland and Egypt are the latest countries to suspend or phase-out GM crop production. The report 'Who Benefits from GM Crops?' reveals that in Europe, production of Monsanto's GM maize, the only GM crop permitted in Europe, dropped in Portugal, Czech Republic and Slovakia. Over 90% of the European Union's GM crop production is based in just one country, Spain [1]. Globally GM crops are grown predominantly in USA, Brazil, Argentina and India.

:: Global warming can be limited to 2 degrees with major technological and institutional change: IPCC report

Many pathways to substantial greenhouse-gas reductions are available at relatively little cost, a landmark report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows. Among the options put on the table there are the use of bioenergy combined with carbon capture and storage, and comprehensive pricing of CO2 emissions. The report's team of authors has been led by Ottmar Edenhofer, vice-director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

:: The Climate Paradox: Do We Need to Phase Out Coal?

While we are in the midst of a steadily progressing Energiewende in Germany, world climate scientists from the renowned climate science body IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) are releasing their newest findings these days in Berlin. The results presented in Yokohama some weeks ago showed the world that human induced climate change is not only real and happening, but impacts are and evermore will be worse than expected. By Katrin Heeren

:: Did Europe sacrifice its climate leadership role to backwards-oriented money making business?

High level climate and energy experts from politics and industry discussed the future European energy policy intensely during the Second European Energy Congress on March 31st and April 1st 2014 in Brussels, organised by the Süddeutscher Verlag Veranstaltungen GmbH. By Katrin Heeren

:: What is the strongest driving force for off-grid electrification: light, communication or entertainment?

While NGOs and social businesses are still trying to drive ahead the solar lighting of households in off-grid regions with the cheapest possible entry-level products, the same households easily buy a mobile phone from the local market. And that, despite they actually often can’t afford a mobile phone according to the income statistics. How does it happen? Why does the spread of mobile phones explode while solar lighting in comparison spreads with much more difficulty? By Harald Schützeichel

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