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:: Heat waves, ice-storms, droughts and hurricanes –their impact on the carbon cycle

How do climate extremes affect the carbon cycle of land ecosystems? How do the resulting carbon cycle changes in turn affect the climate? These questions will be discussed during the international “Open Science Conference on Climate Extremes and Biogeochemical Cycles in the Terrestrial Biosphere: impacts and feedbacks across scales” in Seefeld, Austria, from 2nd to 5th April 2013, hosted by the University of Innsbruck. More than 150 scientists from over 20 different countries will meet to discuss the responses of ecosystems to climate variability and weather extremes, based on experimental evidence and modeling of the biosphere-climate system.

:: Multifold increase in heat extremes by 2040

Extremes such as the severe heat wave last year in the US or the one 2010 in Russia are likely to be seen much more often in the near future. A few decades ago, they were practically absent. Today, due to man-made climate change monthly heat extremes in summer are already observed on 5 percent of the land area. This is projected to double by 2020 and quadruple by 2040, according to a study by scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM). A further increase of heat extremes in the second half of our century could be stopped if global greenhouse-gas emissions would be reduced substantially.

:: First World Conference on Climate Impacts

Droughts, floods, crop failures, invading species and diseases – climate change impacts of today and tomorrow come with a raft of buzz words. But the science behind our understanding of the potential consequences of global warming is both much broader and much more fragmented.

:: Can Climate Engineering Solve the Climate Problem?

GEOMAR coordinates research program for evaluating industrial climate regulation. Spraying sulfur particles into the atmosphere or fertilizing the oceans with iron: numerous commercial measures for artificial climate regulation are currently in discussion. A new priority program of the German Research Foundation will examine the side effects of so called “Climate Engineering”. The program is coordinated by GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel.

:: Milestone for Solar lamps achieved in India

Free Solar study lights for 1.6 million school children in poor villages. Chhattisgarh State decides to distribute free solar lights to 1.3 million poor households instead of continuing subsidies for kerosene lamps / quality light replaces subsidies for fossil fuels.

:: Weather extremes provoked by trapping of giant waves in the atmosphere

The world has suffered from severe regional weather extremes in recent years, such as the heat wave in the United States in 2011 or the one in Russia 2010 coinciding with the unprecedented Pakistan flood. Behind these devastating individual events there is a common physical cause, propose scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). The study will be published this week in the US Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and suggests that man-made climate change repeatedly disturbs the patterns of atmospheric flow around the globe's Northern hemisphere through a subtle resonance mechanism.

:: Fairtrade works!

What are the effects of Fairtrade on rural development in the producing countries of the South? Which are the decisive factors for an ideal influence? On the occasion of its 20th anniversary, TransFair e.V. Germany and Max Havelaar Switzerland commissioned a study that assesses the effects of Fairtrade in several product ranges on three continents. “The latest results show that Fairtrade creates an improved income and contributes to poverty reduction in rural areas,” said Dieter Overath, General Manager of TransFair.

:: An Open Letter to President Obama

Dear President Obama:

Good luck on your journeys overseas this week, and congratulations on decisively winning your second term as our president! The first time you won four years ago, most of us couldn't contain our joy and found ourselves literally in tears over your victory.

:: Additional Investments in Family Planning Would Save Developing Countries More Than $11 Billion a Year

Access to family planning is an essential human right that unlocks unprecedented rewards for economic development, says new UNFPA report. 222 million women in developing countries have an unmet need for family planning. Additional $4.1 billion in funding is needed to address current needs and those of the growing youth population.

:: Sustainability - A cultural history

Important books have been written on sustainability and sustainable development. But none like this: it’s on the cultural history of the term. By Udo E. Simonis

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