Growing world energy demand, the insecurity of long-term supply and the consequences of fossil fuel use for climate change are driving governments to look for alternatives. To meet rising energy needs, many countries are promoting the production and use of biofuels – energy extracted as a gas, liquid or oil from plants.

Derived from food crops such as corn, sugarcane, soybean, oil palm and sugarbeet, biofuel production has been on the rise in recent years. It is seen by many as a clean form of energy in an era of soaring oil prices and concerns over carbon emissions.

Kory South has spent the last 15 years building his dream resort in St Elizabeth, Jamaica. But his dream is in peril from rising sea levels and stronger hurricanes. South has incurred millions of dollars in losses from hurricanes affecting the island over the last three years.

The passage of Hurricane Dean in 2007 left his Sunset Resort in Treasure Beach with damage to several rooms. Overall damage to the five and a half acre property from the storm – which packed winds of up to 230 km per hour – was estimated at around US$50,000.

China played a critical negotiating role in the fraught UN climate summit in Bali. Its next challenge is to satisfy the demands of the world’s media. The UN climate summit in Bali, Indonesia, in December 2007 will probably be best remembered for the executive secretary, Yvo de Boer, dramatically walking out of the conference hall in tears.

In less dramatic but more important ways China significantly advanced the negotiations, with huge implications for global efforts to tackle climate change. And it also learnt an important lesson about itself.