Summit text falls short says Key, AUDIO

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The Prime Minister says New Zealand can be pleased with what has come out of the climate change summit in Copenhagen, even though there is nothing legally binding.

The US has reached a deal with India, South Africa, China and Brazil. The text will be formally released later today and involves the major developed countries reducing their emissions by an average of 80 percent, but not until 2050.

Climate deal reached

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President Barack Obama declared today a "meaningful and unprecedented breakthrough" had been reached among the US, China and three other countries on a global effort to curb climate change but said much work was still be needed to reach a legally binding treaty.

"It is going to be very hard, and it's going to take some time," he said at the conclusion of a 193-nation global warming summit. "We have come a long way, but we have much further to go."

Unplugging from the world's powerlines

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You won't hear much about it in the vast conference halls of the Copenhagen climate change summit, but living "off-grid" -- beyond the water and power lines that intersect much of the modern world -- could hold a solution to some of the planet's worst environmental woes.

Initially adopted by hippies and environmental mavericks, the pioneering lifestyle has grown to attract thousands of devotees who choose to live completely independently of the local utilities power grid and instead generate their own electricity and water.

Scientists spot nearby "super-Earth"

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Astronomers announced this week they found a water-rich and relatively nearby planet that's similar in size to Earth.

While the planet probably has too thick of an atmosphere and is too hot to support life similar to that found on Earth, the discovery is being heralded as a major breakthrough in humanity's search for life on other planets.

New Orleans goes underwater again

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Severe rainfalls Monday night and Tuesday morning helped make this December the wettest calendar month on record in metro New Orleans, according to the National Weather Service - and that means flooding.

35 homes are reported to flooded with flood waters overwhelming a levee in three places.

Precisely 538mm of rain had fallen less than halfway into the month at Louis Armstrong International Airport, said Robert Ricks, the service's lead forecaster. That total is the most to ever fall in a single month in the New Orleans area since 1947, when the service started keeping records at the airport.

Residents flee as Philippines volcano threatens to erupt

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Philippines authorities Tuesday started evacuating about 50,000 people living around the island nation's most active volcano after it oozed fiery lava and belched clouds of ash.

A large-scale eruption was forecast as imminent.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology raised the alert level up a notch on Monday night to level 3. Scientist Alex Baloloy told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) that under level 3, "a full-blown eruption is expected to take place within weeks to days."

2010 could be the hottest

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Global warming will resume its upward climb again next year, the British Met Office predicted at the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen - forecasting that 2010 will be the hottest year recorded for the world.

The coming 12 months will be hotter than 1998, currently the hottest year in the 160-year-old instrumental record, Met Office officials said.

Weekend weather quiz

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Last weekend's quiz proved a little tough for some but a few people managed impressive scores. This one has a little more of an international flavour.

1/ What is the worlds highest recorded temperature?

2/ Does Sydney have more rain than Auckland in an average year?

3/ What year did Cyclone Bola hit NZ?

Winter storm exits US, Canada - but another is brewing

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Freezing temperatures plagued much of the nation Thursday after a major storm moved into Canada, but another storm that will dump more snow in the Sierra Nevada was brewing, forecasters said.

That storm, which is expected to start overnight, should last several days and eventually make its way eastward, like its predecessor, CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said. The Sierras, straddling California and Nevada, received more than 3 feet of snow in the last few days.

Polar bears' fate worsens

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New pictures show that polar bears are beginning to cannibalise each other as global warming destroys hunting grounds.

The images, taken in Hudson Bay, Canada, around 321km north of Churchill, Manitoba, show a male polar bear carrying the bloodied head of a polar bear cub it has killed for food.