Please take a look at this month's top climate stories from AlertNet Climate (http://www.trust.org/alertnet/climate-change), the Thomson Reuters Foundation's daily news website on the human impacts of climate change.
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--Bangladesh looks likely to be the first country to include in its constitution a provision for redressing damage resulting from climate change.
--Power-hungry Bangladesh has doubled the number of homes with solar-generated electricity systems to 800,000 over the last year. Demand for the systems is growing as the country curbs new connections to its overburdened power grid and as costs for the solar panels come down, according to a range of non-profit groups now providing them across the country.
--Water shortages have long been a problem for villages that lie along the Zimbabwe-Botswana border. But for Thomson Kilobe, finding water now means crossing national borders in search of this vital resource.
--An unprecedented cholera outbreak is spreading fast through Cameroon's capital, after an early start to the rainy season, causing more than 250 deaths in two months alone, according to the government.
--Emile Wilson points to three tractors fitted with rice ploughs, parked on his homestead just off the main highway that runs through this town in eastern Guyana. "You notice here? All here was flooded, right up to where those tractors are," he says. Guyana's coast, much of it below sea level, is facing growing problems from sea level rise.
--Mira Bai frowns in concentration at the complicated zigzag of wires on the panel in front of her. Unfathomable to most, they speak loud and clear to the 60-year-old grandmother. Despite being illiterate, she now knows exactly which wires to connect to create the magical connection between the sun and the panel so it absorbs and transfers rays to the battery that will later light up her house. Bai is one of 15,000 solar engineers who have attended a six-month training course at a rural college in India's northwest state of Rajasthan, enabling them to bring renewable power to their villages.
--As in most years since 1998, heat wave warnings have been issued for many parts of the east Indian state of Orissa. But the threat no longer disturbs 60-year old Rukuni Naik's rest. The government of this Orissan city recently replaced Naik's mud and thatch home with one made of bricks and mortar. An electric connection and a ceiling fan are due to follow shortly, as the government moves to help residents cope with increasingly extreme heat.
--Barriers preventing the transfer of clean technologies to help nations like India adopt low-carbon development must be removed if the world is to successfully address climate change, a new study warns.
--On the eve of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's approval of a landmark, two-year moratorium on forest and peatland clearing under a $1 billion climate deal with Norway last month, the Indonesian leader issued another mining ruling that sparked criticism he cares more about protecting industry than saving what is left of Indonesia's forests.
--Farmers in Central Kenya are embracing solar technology as an environmentally friendly and cost-effective way to irrigate their land. Joseph Mutua has begun using a solar-powered pump to bring water from the nearby Nyamindi River to irrigate his export-bound food crops, which include French beans, baby corn and kale.
--An unprecedented drought is destroying the livelihoods of communities across northern Kenya, among them traditional healers and medicine men, who are at a loss to know how to respond.
--Alphonse Wesonga used to criticise the Kenyan government for failing to clear Lake Victoria of its choking swathes of water hyacinth. Now, however, environmentalists are promoting an innovative way to rid the country of one of Africa's pests– a portable unit that can generate biogas and liquid fertiliser from water hyacinth.
--In the tiny west Kenyan village of Ejinja, eye-watering smoke emanates from Edith Adisa's grass-thatched kitchen. The choking pollution comes from the firewood the mother of three uses to boil water for her family and anyone else who might drop by. But a new water filter may cut the need for her to boil drinking water – and curb emissions.
--Kenya plans to launch a cutting-edge green energy centre in December to help companies develop climate-friendly technologies, boosting employment and trade in the sector.
--Liberia and the European Union have signed an agreement aimed at ensuring transparency, accountability and sustainability in the management of the West African country's timber industry and forests.
--As worsening droughts take hold in their community, the farmers of Mzimba have found a way to deal with poor rains with one simple technique – planting their crops in pits.
--In this quiet village, farmers are waiting for the onset of the rainy season in July so that they can plant their crops. But recent experience has left them worried about whether this year's rainfall will be adequate - or whether it may prove too heavy at the wrong time. Small-scale farmers in this West African nation face an uncertain future, caught between harvests imperilled by fluctuating rainfall, and rising cereal prices that make it hard to feed their families when they need to buy food.
--Fatima Bibi saw her life turned upside down when her land became saline, leading to a sharp decline in yield from her crops. With her income reduced, she and her husband Ali Raza set up a roadside stall to eke out a living for their family. But scientists hope vast tracts of arable land in Pakistan lost to salinity could be reclaimed by cultivating salt-tolerant plants for biofuel and animal feed.
--After being struck by the most severe flooding in its history, Pakistan has formally approved the first draft of a national policy on climate change.
--The inhabitants of San Francisco, located in the Philippines' Cebu province, earn just $115 a month on average. And they have learned the hard way that natural hazards can snatch away what little they have. But now the farming and fishing communities of the southern Philippine municipality are tackling the twin challenges of disasters and poverty through resident-led councils that work to protect local people and their environment from storms and floods.
-- Dame Diop looks at the green leaves of trees growing on the sandy Sahelian soil of his Senegal village, Khatre Sy, and talks with modesty about the community's effort to restore fertility to their degraded soil. The people of Khatre Sy, about 130km north of Senegal's capital, Dakar, decided to pool their farmlands together and zone off sections to allow trees – mainly varieties of the African acacia – to regenerate. They used some of the regeneration sites as farmlands where they planted crops – groundnuts, millet and sorghum.
--Soaring gas and electricity prices in Tanzania are forcing more and more people to return to the use of charcoal and wood for heating and cooking, threatening the country's forests and contributing to climate change.
--When Anglican bishop Nathan Kyamanywa was appointed to his job in 2002, he decided that climate change should be a matter of concern for Christians. Kyamanywa bought 55 tree seedlings and gave one to each of the parishes in his diocese of Bunyoro-Kitara in western Uganda. The bishop is just one of a number of Ugandan religious leaders from various faiths who are educating their communities about the environment and taking steps to preserve it, particularly in the face of deforestation.
--What if your city was hit by a tsunami triggered by an earthquake – already crises that would bring most cities to their knees – which in turn led to fires, chemical spills and nuclear power accidents? Is your city prepared for multiple disasters? This question was posed to a panel of experts from Japan, Bangladesh and China and audiences from around the region recently. The short answer was "No, not yet."
--Asian cities, for all their economic growth and productivity, have paid insufficient attention to the environmental and climate change issues stoking the region's problems with poverty, development and ecology, a United Nations report says.
--Rising energy demands could lead to an energy crisis in Asia, resulting in increased poverty and climate change threats if nations do not improve energy security, the president of Asian Development Bank (ADB) says.
--Many Caribbean states are likely to fall into perpetual recession as a result of climate shocks to their key tourism and agricultural industries unless they move quickly to shore up their defences, regional experts warn.
--Developing countries aiming to curb greenhouse gas emissions need to create strategies that address the deforestation caused by agricultural expansion, which is the main cause of forest clearing in most nations, a new report says.
--From the flood-ravaged provinces of Pakistan and tsunami battered shorelines of Japan to the storms, floods, landslides and quakes that struck Australia, New Zealand and Spain, disasters have hogged the headlines in the past 18 months. Yet there is a sliver of good news – the risk of being killed by a cyclone or flood is lower today than it was 20 years ago, despite more people living on floodplains and storm-prone areas, according to the second United Nations report on reducing the risks of disasters.
--The World Meteorological Organisation agreed earlier this month to set up a global system for climate information services, which aims to fill existing gaps in provision in the least-developed countries.
--Figuring out how to raise the $100 billion a year in climate change assistance promised to poor nations is tough enough, but spending the money fairly and effectively may prove an even bigger challenge, climate finance experts warn.
--Most families across the world have felt the pinch from the rising cost of food. But in poorer nations the health risks, particularly for young children, are far more severe. Micronutrients could help.
--Climate information providers and humanitarians must build closer partnerships to protect people from weather disasters, and governments should allocate more funds to prevent climate-related crises, says a new publication from the International Research Institute for Climate and Society.
--As U.N. climate talks get underway in Bonn, an international business and NGO alliance funded by the British and Dutch governments is stepping up support to help negotiators from the poorest developing nations get a larger say in any new global deal.
AlertNet Climate, a news website of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, takes a daily front-line look at the development and humanitarian impacts of climate change.
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