Stories written by Matthew O. Berger
Matthew O. Berger has covered global issues, with a focus on environment and climate, from the IPS Washington, D.C. bureau.

DISARMAMENT: NGOs Praise U.S. Leadership on Nukes

One of the largest gatherings of world leaders ever on U.S. soil began Monday with representatives of 47 countries gathering here for the Nuclear Security Summit.

SOUTH AFRICA: Coal Plant Won’t Promote Development, Say Groups

As the World Bank approved a controversial three-billion-dollar loan for a coal-fired power plant in South Africa Thursday, both the details and the broader impacts of the loan continue to be criticised by community and environmental groups.

ENERGY: Bank-Funded Coal Plant Tests Green Agenda

Decision-makers around the world are in a period of transition when it comes to the future of supplying energy. Even if everyone agrees that a low carbon future is the inevitable solution, there is nothing close to consensus regarding which path to take.

Red and pink coral were among the marine species that failed to win the necessary votes for CITES protection. Credit: Public domain

BIODIVERSITY: Trade Trumps Concern for Threatened Marine Species

As details emerge about the backroom politics and contentious votes that led to the failure to protect any of the several marine species up for international protection at a key conference the past two weeks, conservation advocates are looking ahead to influence regional, local and even individual choices in the next round of battles to save the threatened species.

/UPDATE*/POLITICS: U.S., Russia Nuclear Reductions START Again

When U.S. President Barack Obama accepted his Nobel Peace Prize last fall he said, "I'm working with [Russian] President [Dmitri] Medvedev to reduce America and Russia's nuclear stockpiles." Three and a half months later, that work has come to fruition.

U.S.: Water Crisis High on Policy Agenda, Clinton Says

On a rainy morning here Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton emphasised the centrality to U.S. foreign policy of addressing the world's water challenges.

CLIMATE CHANGE: A Year On, Little Change in Political Climate

This time last year, United States federal legislation on climate change was starting to take shape, seemingly more pressing matters were taking up the bulk of U.S. policymakers' time, and a major climate conference was looming at the end of the year.

BIODIVERSITY: Lucrative Shark Trade Under Scrutiny

As climate change transforms the acidity and oxygen levels of the world's waters with devastating effects for some marine species, others are facing an even more immediate threat from human consumption.

Some countries are seeking a ban on commercial trade in bluefin tuna, estimated to be a 7.2-billion-dollar-a-year industry. Credit: Public domain

BIODIVERSITY: CITES Faces Political Storm over Tuna Ban

The vast majority of the species protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES, live on land, but as marine species come under increasing pressure from unsustainable fishing and a range of climate change-related threats that focus is beginning to shift.

POLITICS: U.S. Still Noncommittal on Landmine Treaty

As the 11th anniversary of the Mine Ban Treaty entering into effect came and went Monday, the United States remained one of only 37 countries to have yet to sign on to the agreement.

HEALTH: Neoliberalism not Liberal Enough for AIDS Investments

Neoliberal economic ideas have grown increasingly dominant over the last 30 years. During that same time, the spread of HIV/AIDS has reached an epidemic crescendo.

US-MEXICO: Escalating Drug Violence Rooted in Northern Demand

As the war over health care continues in Washington and a war of a bloodier nature heats up in Ciudád Juárez and elsewhere in Mexico, top U.S. and Mexican officials are hoping to reduce both pressures on the health system and the ongoing bloodshed.

U.S.: Obama Urged to Aggressively Pursue Rights Agenda

Following a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama and a summit last week, human rights activists from a range of countries released a plan of action Monday according to which the United States can lead the way in safeguarding human rights.

POLITICS: Cluster Bomb Ban to Become Law – Without U.S.

Just over a year after it was opened for signature, an international treaty banning cluster bombs received the final two ratifications it needed to become international law Tuesday.

U.S.: Nuke Plants Back in Vogue, as Climate Bill Stalls

After decades of debate, the United States is poised to build its first new nuclear reactors since the early 1970s.

The photographer's truck, buried outside the Washington Monument. Credit: Eastenhuh/flickr

CLIMATE CHANGE: The Day After Tomorrow Might Have Been Yesterday

When the 2004 film "The Day After Tomorrow" depicted the northern United States buried under tens of feet of snow following an abrupt change in global climate patterns, it cemented the association in the public consciousness between climate change and extreme weather events.

Malayan tiger in the water. Credit: Public domain

BIODIVERSITY: Conservation Groups Pounce on Year of the Tiger

The Lunar New Year that begins Sunday will mark the start of the Chinese Zodiac's Year of the Tiger, but conservationists are saying 2010 will have much more than symbolic significance for the Asian big cat.

U.S.: Ill Omens for Senate Climate Legislation

Delivering his State of the Union address before both houses of Congress and a global audience on Jan. 27, U.S. President Barack Obama asked for passage of "a comprehensive energy and climate bill with incentives that will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy in America."

U.S.: New Defence Strategy Envisions Multiple Conflicts

A report and budget request from the U.S. Defence Department released Monday reveal both new and old priorities for President Barack Obama's Pentagon.

President Obama delivers the annual State of the Union address to Congress. Credit: White House Photo/Pete Souza

U.S.: Obama Downplays Foreign Policy Agenda in Major Speech

In laying out his priorities for the coming year before a joint session of Congress and millions of viewers Wednesday night, U.S. President Barack Obama made it clear that the focus of administration would be, more than anything else, on domestic issues – and the vital mission of job creation in particular.

POLITICS: U.S. Taking New Tack on Afghan Poppies

Counter-narcotics and counterinsurgency often go hand-in-hand in Afghanistan, where the opium poppy trade bankrolls much of the Taliban's operations and greases political corruption.

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