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Climate change: Pope urges action on clean energy

Climate change: Pope urges action on clean energy

Science
Pope Francis has said climate change is a challenge of "epochal proportions" and that the world must convert to clean fuel. "Civilisation requires energy, but energy use must not destroy civilisation," he said.He was speaking to a group of oil company executives at the end of a two-day conference in the Vatican.Firms present included ExxonMobil, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Norway's Equinor and Pemex of Mexico. Modern society with its "massive movement of information, persons and things requires an immense supply of energy", he told the gathering."But that energy should also be clean, by a reduction in the systematic use of fossil fuels," he said. "Our desire to ensure energy for all must not lead to the undesired effect of a spiral of...
Climate change is robbing rice of its nutrition

Climate change is robbing rice of its nutrition

Science
May 25 (UPI) -- As carbon dioxide concentrations in Earth's atmosphere increase, the nutritional value of rice will decline, new research shows. Researchers with the University of Tokyo tracked rice growth at experimental field sites across Japan and China. A system of pipes delivered different levels of CO2 to the rice plants. Wind sensors and gas detectors helped scientists ensure each plant was exposed to the correct amount of CO2. Scientists analyzed rice samples from the experimental plants, measuring the amounts of iron, zinc, protein, and vitamins B1, B2, B5, and B9 found in each. Their data revealed an inverse relationship between CO2 levels and nutritional qualities -- the higher the CO2 level, the lower the levels of vitamins and minerals. Researchers published the findings thi...
UN puts brave face as climate talks get stuck

UN puts brave face as climate talks get stuck

Science
UN talks have been officially suspended as countries failed to resolve differences about implementing the Paris climate agreement. The negotiations will resume in Bangkok in September where an extra week's meeting has now been scheduled .Delegates struggled with the complexity of agreeing a rulebook for the Paris climate pact that will come into force in 2020. Rows between rich and poor re-emerged over finance and cutting carbon.Overall progress at this meeting has been very slow, with some countries such as China looking to re-negotiate aspects of the Paris deal. UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa was putting a brave face on the talks. "We face, I would say, a satisfactory outcome for this session but we have to be very, very clear that we have a lot of...
New climate 'feedback loop' discovered in freshwater lakes

New climate 'feedback loop' discovered in freshwater lakes

Science
Methane emissions from lakes in the northern hemisphere could almost double over the next 50 years because of a novel "feedback loop" say scientists. Climate change is boosting the proportion of cattail plants growing in and around freshwater lakes they say. But when debris from these reed beds falls in the water it triggers a major increase in the amount of methane produced. The gas is at least 25 times more warming than CO₂ in the atmosphere.Freshwater lakes play an important but relatively unrecognised role in the global carbon cycle, contributing around 16% of the Earth's natural emissions of methane - compared to just 1% from all the world's oceans. The gas is produced by microbes in the sediment at the bottom of lakes who consume organic matter that falls into the water from plants a
Rising levels of 'frustration' at UN climate stalemate

Rising levels of 'frustration' at UN climate stalemate

Science
Old divisions between rich and poor over money and ambition are again threatening to limit progress in UN climate negotiations.Discussions between negotiators from nearly 200 countries have resumed in Germany, aiming to flesh out the rules on the Paris climate pact.But developing countries say they are "frustrated" with the lack of leadership from the developed world.Commitments to cut carbon are still "woefully inadequate" they said. 2018 marks a critical stage in the global climate negotiations process. By the end of this year, governments will meet in Poland to finalise the so-called "rulebook" of the Paris deal, agreed in the French capital in December 2015.This is seen as a key test. The rules will define the ways in which every country reports on their emissions and on their carbon-...