UK leader urges international agreement on climate-change strategy

Wed, 2007-09-12 10:18Bill Miller
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UK leader urges international agreement on climate-change strategy

Sir David King, head of the UK government's Office of Science and Technology, called for an international accord on climate change while in South Africa to discuss the seriousness of global warming with cabinet ministers, businessmen, academics and students.

Africa is expected to be hardest hit by global warming even though it has emitted less greenhouse gases than other regions because many African countries depend on natural resources, such as agriculture, which are very sensitive to changes in climate.

In Western Cape, which is predicted to get hotter and drier, apple farmers are already struggling with the drier summers the region has begun to experience.

King says a more considered use of the planet's finite resources and economic growth can go hand in hand, but we need to adapt our thinking toward well-being rather than conspicuous consumption.

“This is a crisis we can manage if we get our heads together – but even one large country could wreck it,” he says.

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In Texas and North Dakota, where an oil rush triggered by the development of new fracking methods has taken many towns by storm, drillers have run into a major problem.

While their shale wells extract valuable oil, natural gas also rises from the wells alongside that oil. That gas could be sold for use for electrical power plants or to heat homes, but it is harder to transport from the well to customers than oil. Oil can be shipped via truck, rail or pipe, but the only practical way to ship gas is by pipeline, and new pipelines are expensive, often costing more to construct than the...

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