Two months from now comes a landmark day in planetary history: the Kyoto Protocol finally comes into legal force on 16 February 2005. However Kyoto was intended only as an initial step in mitigating climate change: a 6000-strong Buenos Aires gathering due to conclude today has spent a fortnight discussing follow-up strategies, with ESA among them.
The 1997 Kyoto Protocol of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change aims to lessen the effects of climate change by setting targets for industrialised countries to reduce emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide. Fossil fuel burning and land use change since the start of the Industrial Revolution has led to the highest level of atmospheric carbon dioxide for 160 000 years. The fact that human-induced change in the make-up of the air is leading inexorably to higher global temperatures is a settled matter of scientific fact. What remains to be settled is the likely future extent of climate change, and what collective strategy should be undertaken to follow Kyoto.
Since 6 December delegates from almost 200 countries have been gathered in the Argentinean capital to discuss this problem: how to mitigate climate change, and how to adapt. This event is the latest in a sequence of annual gatherings, known as the Tenth Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP 10). With Kyoto on the verge of becoming effective, countries that have ratified the Protocol - and therefore having committed themselves to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases - have been discussing and negotiating the details of what information should be required to report to show compliance.
Mariangela D’Acunto | alfa
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The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.
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The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
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