Global warming pact set for 2009 after US backs down

World climate negotiators set a 2009 deadline Saturday for a landmark treaty to fight global warming after two weeks of intense haggling led to a climbdown by an isolated United States.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who flew to the Indonesian island of Bali for a late appeal for flexibility, praised the deal as a “pivotal first step” to confront climate change, “the defining challenge of our time.”

Following gruelling all-night talks, the conference of 190 nations finally launched a process to negotiate a new treaty for when the UN Kyoto Protocol’s commitments expire in 2012.

AFP: Global warming pact set for 2009 after US backs down.

Shanghai maglev rail route may detour to avoid residences- Xinhua

The planners of the Shanghai-Hangzhou magnetic levitation (maglev) rail project will design the proposed route to avoid residential buildings and lessen the impact of radiation upon people, according to a municipal government official.

“The maglev project has basically two environmental effects: noise and magnetic radiation,” said Zhang Quan, deputy director of the Shanghai Environmental Bureau.

A maglev train generates high levels of noise at speeds exceeding 200 kilometers per hour. “A possible solution for the noise problem may be slowing the train in downtown areas and speeding it up when it leaves urban districts,” said Zhang.

Approved by the central government in March 2006, the 175-km Shanghai-Hangzhou maglev rail project is estimated to cost 35 billion yuan (4.5 billion U.S. dollars). Trains will be able to reach a speed of 450 km per hour.

Shanghai maglev rail route may detour to avoid residences_English_Xinhua.

Government’s offshore wind power target branded ‘pie in the sky’

Industry secretary John Hutton announced in Berlin that Britain wanted to expand offshore wind power to provide about a fifth of the country’s electricity by 2020. This would mark a big increase from the current level of less than 1%.

Five years ago the then energy minister, Brian Wilson, announced that vast areas of shallow sea around Britain would be earmarked for an expansion of wind power that theoretically could power Britain three times over

Government’s offshore wind power target branded ‘pie in the sky’ | Environment | The Guardian.

Waste disposal and waste-watch through community participation

I have a novel idea to mitigate this problem. We all know that careless and irresponsible waste disposal practices are now a punishable offence. Since it is an offence, we tend to commit it. We deem dumping our waste criminally and carelessly on someone else’s premises or ‘elsewhere’ as heroics. This is a common misbehaviour associated with any community. We cannot stop it unless people take the initiative and stop it themselves. How can we make people stop it? The only way out is “waste-watching”. This has nothing to do with watching whether someone is disposing of waste in the right manner. Waste-watch is a new concept I propose to shame the people concerned. Since we are so obsessed with our integrity and dignity, it is a good idea to exploit this weakness of the people. Waste disposal and waste-watch through community participation – Merinews.com

Launch Of Sustainable Transport

Transport Minister Annette King has launched Sustainable Transport, a draft Update of the New Zealand Transport Strategy that outlines a vision for a sustainable transport future.

Ms King released the document in Wellington as the first step toward updating the Government’s 2002 New Zealand Transport Strategy.

Scoop: Launch Of Sustainable Transport.