Feds aim to cut methane pollution by 40 percent in next 10 years Staff Report A federal plan to cut methane pollution from fossil fuel operations on public lands will get a public hearing in the Denver area next week, and the forum will be live-streamed to ensure maximum public access.
The World Trade Organization delivered a blow to India’s ambitious solar power program on Wednesday at the behest of the United States. So much for all that nice chatter about international climate cooperation back in December.
Responding to a U.S. complaint, a WTO dispute panel ruled that several provisions of India’s National Solar Mission were “inconsistent” with international trade norms. The point of contention? India’s solar plan, which seeks to install 100 gigawatts of solar capacity by 2022, requires a certain percentage of cells and panels to be manufactured locally.
Staff Report In the age of instant gratification, it’s probably not surprising that coasting downhill on a mountain bike has become a popular pastime in Summit County. As a result, the U.S. Forest Service is preparing to authorize several ten-year special use permits to different individuals and organizations to serve up to a total of 20,000 downhill cyclists during the summer season. Up to now, the shuttle service has been authorized under temporary permits serving up to 16,000 people, served by as many as 12 different local businesses, all hauling tourists to the top of Vail Pass so they can zoom back down on the bike path.
Early detection and response, partnerships across jurisdictions seen as critical measures Staff Report The spread of invasive species has been identified as the second-leading cause of extinctions among all plants and animals worldwide — and the problem is getting worse in the era of global trade. Just a few months ago, scientists warned that North American amphibians are at risk from an invasive fungus. White-nose syndrome, which has wiped out millions of bats, may have also spread to the U.S. from Europe.
Animal, plant and marine biodiversity comprise the "natural capital" that keeps our ecosystems functional and economies productive. But the world is experiencing a dramatic loss of biodiversity. Although the pace of deforestation has slowed globally since the 1990s, it remains high with annual deforestation of about 13 million hectares, affecting critical animal and plant habitats. The world has also lost about 40% of warm water coral reefs since the 1980s. The Living Planet Index (LPI), which measures trends in selected species populations, shows an overall decline of 52% over the last 40 years, with particularly dramatic losses in tropical developing countries, mainly as a result of habitat loss, degradation, and overexploitation.
The loss of biodiversity has negative effects on livelihoods, water supply, food security and resilience to extreme events. It has consequences for 78% of the world’s extreme poor who live in rural areas, many of which rely on ecosystems and the goods they produce to make a living. The World Bank estimates that crimes affecting natural resources and the environment inflict damage on developing countries worth more than $70 billion a year. The loss of coral reefs has significant physical and economic consequences for 350 million people living in coastal areas by reducing coastal protection and habitat for fish. Deforestation and land conversion contribute about 30% of global greenhouse emissions, and the loss of diversity reduces the resilience of ecosystems to climate change and other disturbances.
Almost a year ago, National Geographic told the story of Aixa, now eight years old, who lives in Avia Terai, a town in Argentina surrounded by soybeans and other crops treated with pesticides. Included was a photograph by Marco Vernaschi that showed tumors and blotches covering Aixa’s face and body.
Coral reefs around the world are getting hit by the double whammy of global warming and an intense El Niño this year. Record and near-record warmth spread across large parts of the world’s major oceans are prolonging the longest global coral die-off on record. “We’re maybe looking at a 2- to 2.5-year-long event. Some areas have already seen bleaching two years in a row,” said Mark Eakin, a biological oceanographer with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in College Park, Maryland, and coordinator of the agency’s Coral Reef Watch.
Several years after scientists thought they had put the problem to rest, they have once again discovered increasing concentrations of mercury, this time in rainwater. “It’s a surprising result,” says David Gay from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, who is a co-author on the new study. “Everybody expected [mercury levels] to continue going down. But our analysis shows that may not necessarily be the case.” The results, recently published in Science of the Total Environment, is surprising because long-term trends had shown a decrease in mercury emissions whereas data collected between 2007 and 2013 indicate an unsettling upturn from the Rocky Mountains to the Midwest.
My attention was caught this week by a study that ascertained that thermal expansion accounts for a much greater share of sea level rise than previously thought. In fact, quite a few journalists got the message wrong. They thought the researchers had found that climate change was causing sea level rise twice as high as previously thought, which would have been quite a sensation. In fact, what the scientists actually found was that the amount of sea level rise that comes from the oceans warming and expanding has been underestimated and is probably about twice as much as previously calculated. There is a clear difference, which does not make the research – using the latest available satellite data – any less interesting.
But for the Propertius Duskywing butterfly, the Montane Yellow violet, the Sharp-tailed snake, the Blue-grey Taildropper slug and the Horned Lark who live in the region's Garry Oak meadows, this is more like death row. All but the Duskywing are now on Canada's 'red' list of most threatened species; the butterfly is one rung down, on the next-most-threatened 'blue' list.
How investors use trade agreements to undermine climate action 23 February 2016Policy issue Countries around the world have reached a critical moment in the fight against climate change. Last year, hundreds of thousands of people marched in the streets demanding climate action, more than 190 countries reached a climate agreement in Paris, and renewable energy became more affordable and accessible to communities across the globe. Meanwhile, in sharp contradiction to that, countries negotiated new trade deals that would empower fossil fuel corporations to undermine the exact climate and conservation policies that are needed to tackle the climate crisis.
The Białowieża Forest (ca. 1,500 sqkm) is the famous lowland forest in Europe! It is a last large piece of low land forest in Europe! The Białowieża National Park is protected since 1932 and inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1979 and extended to include the Belarusian part in 1992. In 2014, as a result of the request of local communities, the Białowieża National Park, scientists and foresters, UNESCO accepted a large extension of the property of 1418.85 km2 with a buffer zone of 1667,08 km2. According to UNESCO description: The area has an exceptionally conservation significance due to the scale of its old growth forests, which include extensive undisturbed areas where natural processes are on-going.
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