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Development halted in crucial wildlife corridor in Malaysia

Development halted in crucial wildlife corridor in Malaysia | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
Kenyir Wildlife Corridor in northeast Malaysia is teeming with wildlife: elephants, gibbons, tigers, tapirs, and even black panthers (melanistic leopards) have been recorded in the 60 kilometer (37 mile) stretch of forest.

 

In fact, researchers have recorded over 40 mammal species (see species list below), including 15 threatened with extinction according to the IUCN Red List. When these findings were presented by scientists to the Terengganu state government action followed quickly: all development projects have been halted pending a government study.

 

"We will not hesitate to gazette the site if the findings reveal that it is of environmental importance," Datuk Toh Chin Yaw, chairman of the Terengganu State Industry, Trade and Environment Committee, told fz.

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Climate change threatens sweet smell of morning coffee

Climate change threatens sweet smell of morning coffee | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
LONDON, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Rising temperatures due to climate change could mean wild arabica coffee is extinct in 70 years, posing a risk to the genetic sustainability of one of the world's basic commodities, scientists said.

 

Although commercial coffee growers would still be able to cultivate crops in plantations designed with the right conditions, experts say the loss of wild arabica, which has greater genetic diversity, would make it harder for plantations to survive long-term and beat threats like pests and disease.

 

A study by researchers at Britain's Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in collaboration with scientists in Ethiopia found that 38 to 99.7 percent of the areas suitable for wild arabica will disappear by 2080 if predictions of rising temperatures pan out.

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Australian Weather Calendar 2013 - Telegraph

Australian Weather Calendar 2013 - Telegraph | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

The Bureau of Meteorology in Australia runs a photographic competition each year. The winning pictures go into a calendar, alongside their stories. Here are the pictures in the 2013 calendar,

a calendar of inspiring photos of Australian skies and landscapes.

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Certifying eco-friendly rubber to protect biodiversity | Agroforestry World Blog

Certifying eco-friendly rubber to protect biodiversity | Agroforestry World Blog | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

Indonesia’s rubber agroforests harbour nearly as much biodiversity as primary forests. Yet they, too, are under threat. Can ‘green’ rubber help save them?


Studies of rubber agroforests in Jambi province in Indonesia have found that their physiognomy and functioning are close to those of natural forests. Although most of the complex rubber agroforests have disappeared in Malaysia and Thailand, around 2 million hectare are still thriving in Indonesia. However, if left neglected they will soon be converted to agriculture and industrial plantations. And since little primary forest is left in the country, maintaining these forests is the only option to support high forest diversity.

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World's Largest Community-Owned Solar Project Launches in England

World's Largest Community-Owned Solar Project Launches in England | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
Imagine 5MW of community-owned solar generating clean, renewable energy. Now imagine it in rainy old England...

 

From a community-owned solar power station on a brewery roof to solar gardens and shared arrays in DC, the idea of collectively-owned, community-focused renewables is certainly nothing new.

 

But it is an idea that is gaining traction. And activists in England, under the auspices of Westmill Solar Cooperative, have just launched what they claim to be the biggest community-owned solar project in the world, purchasing an existing 5MW solar farm near Oxford which generated over 4,900MWh of electricity in the last year. Westmill executive Phillip Wolfe lauds the project as a major step in the renewable energy revolution:

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Rapid and deep emissions reductions may not be easy, but 4°C to 6°C will be much worse”

Rapid and deep emissions reductions may not be easy, but 4°C to 6°C will be much worse” | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

Could you share with us your analysis of where you think we find ourselves in terms of climate change and what’s our current trajectory if we carry on as we are?

 

Can we for definite, in your opinion, say that this year’s extreme weather can be linked to climate change?

 

But would you say that if we were still at 280 parts per million it would be much less likely that we would have had a summer like this?

 

Sometimes people talk about this idea of ‘a new normal’, that the basic conditions around us have changed. In terms of what’s happening in terms of the climate, how would you characterise the ‘new normal’ that we’re in given the rise we’ve had in emissions so far? ...


Via Willy De Backer
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Hurricane Sandy: Costs to come - The Economist

Hurricane Sandy: Costs to come - The Economist | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

Many scientists and journalists are cautious in listing climate change as a causal factor behind a storm like Sandy. Understandably so: weather emerges as part of a complex system, and it would be impossible to say whether a storm would or would not have materialised without global warming. But scientists are becoming ever less shy in drawing a line between a higher frequency of "extreme" weather events and a warming climate. Climate shifts the probability distribution of such events, and so global warming may not have "caused" Sandy, but it makes Sandy-like storms more probable. As the ever-less-funny joke goes, 500-year weather events seem to pop up every one or two years these days.

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Klondike in Lapland: Mining Companies Swarm to Finland's Far North - SPIEGEL ONLINE

Klondike in Lapland: Mining Companies Swarm to Finland's Far North - SPIEGEL ONLINE | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

Foreign mining companies are flocking to Finland to mine its treasures. Here, in some of the oldest rock formations in Europe, lie reserves of valuable raw materials, with geologists describing the ore deposits as among the richest in the world.

 

Hoping for new jobs and investment, the Finnish government is welcoming prospectors, identifying and mapping the deposits and generously granting data and mining rights at cheap prices, even in sensitive areas. Gold, nickel and uranium hunters are even reaching into tourist and conservation areas in the country.

 

Some 40 companies are now carrying out hundreds of exploration projects across the country. The town of Sodankylä in Lapland is essentially surrounded by mining claims with several mines already in operation -- and their tailings seeping toxins into surrounding lakes and rivers.

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In Power and Water Outages, the World Comes to Lower Manhattan

In Power and Water Outages, the World Comes to Lower Manhattan | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

The ongoing power outages in Lower Manhattan and Midtown on the east side, accompanied for many people by no running water and heat, contrasted with the now seeming luxury in the rest of the island really brings the world to the United States.

 

This description from the New York Times pretty much sums it up:

 

As downtowners straggle in, some with piercings and leather jackets and mutts on rope leashes, clustering around power strips by the A.T.M.s at all hours, the Midtown tourists take pictures through the large picture windows, capturing what may be the closest they will come to the City of Darkness. ...

 

 

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What Manslaughter Conviction of Earthquake Experts Means for Global Warming Science

What Manslaughter Conviction of Earthquake Experts Means for Global Warming Science | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

In case you have not yet heard, six scientists and one government adviser have been sentenced to 6 years in prison for manslaughter, after they stood accused of playing down the risks in the days before an earthquake at L'Aquila, Italy, reduced much of the city to rubble, killing more than 300 people.

 

Although all of the legal underpinnings of the verdict are not yet public, it appears that scientists around the world have closed ranks with the convicted Italians, judging their advice not to have been grossly negligent or willfully malicious, which might be an acceptable standard for conviction. The scientific community buzzes with the implications:

 

Can science be put on trial for failing to provide certainty?


Does this signify greater public acceptance of the role of science in managing public risk?


Will fear of legal implications silence scientists?

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UN: Burma opium cultivation rises

UN: Burma opium cultivation rises | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
Opium cultivation has increased in Burma - the world's second largest grower - for a sixth year running, a United Nations report says.

 

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime said land used for opium had risen by 17% this year, from nearly 40,000 hectares (100,000 acres) to 51,000 hectares.

 

Burma is the second largest opium grower in the world after Afghanistan.

 

Almost all of the opium it produces is grown in Shan and Kachin states, which have seen longstanding conflict between the military and ethnic rebel groups.


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Food may cause almost a third of greenhouse emissions -study

Food may cause almost a third of greenhouse emissions -study | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

 OSLO, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Food production accounts for up to 29 percent of man-made greenhouse gases, twice the amount the United Nations has estimated comes from farming, a study published on Wednesday said.

 

Looking at emissions across the food system - including forest clearance, fertiliser production and transport - rather than just farming itself - agriculture research organisation CGIAR said much more work was needed to cut climate change emissions from food.

 

Its report, "Climate Change and Food Systems", estimated food

production was responsible for between 19 and 29 percent of mankind's total greenhouse emissions, far above U.N. estimates of 14 percent based on a narrower definition of farming.

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Bananas could be future staple

Bananas could be future staple | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

Climate change could lead to bananas becoming a critical food source for millions of people, a new report says.

 

Researchers from the CGIAR agricultural partnership say the fruit might replace potatoes in some developing countries.

 

Cassava and the little known cowpea plant could play increasingly important roles in agriculture as temperatures rise.

 

People will have to adapt to new and varied menus as traditional crops struggle say the authors.

 

Responding to a request from the United Nations' committee on world food security, a group of experts in the field looked at the projected effects of climate change on 22 of the world's most important agricultural commodities.

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It's not just Sandy: U.S. hit by record droughts, fires, and heatwaves in 2012

It's not just Sandy: U.S. hit by record droughts, fires, and heatwaves in 2012 | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
As the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy—killing over 100 people and producing upwards of $50 billion in damage along the U.S. East Coast—has reignited a long-dormant conversation on climate change in the media, it's important to note that this is not the only weird and wild weather the U.S. has seen this year.

 

In fact, 2012 has been a year of record-breaking weather across the U.S.: the worst drought in decades, unprecedented heatwaves, and monster forest fires. While climatologists have long stated that it is not yet possible to blame a single extreme weather event on climate change, research is showing that rising temperatures are very likely increasing the chances of extreme weather events and worsening them when they occur.

 

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Jordan Zemanek's comment, September 27, 2013 9:38 AM
The mix of the drought, and the extreme heat seems to have been a major factor in all of these natural disasters lately. Since the heat that arrived in mid spring brought along summer weather, I think with was a spark that ignited the flame for several things like the drought, fires, and other things. The way hurricane Sandy relates to all of this is by the water expanding due to the heat, and adding on too more storm surges, and heavier rain due to evaporation. The increased precipitation has majorly affected how Hurricane Sandy behaved and that blows me away.
Kayla Langstraat's comment, October 1, 2013 9:46 AM
I don't think there is really that much that the United States can do about the problems with the weather, heat and drought. They can't change the weather, but they can find ways to better control wild fires and maybe they could figure out a way to use ocean water to irrigate the land so it's not quite as dry. This would probably cost more money than it would save though. There isn't really much we can do to stop hurricanes and wild fires.
Sarah Peterson's comment, October 1, 2013 9:47 AM
This was a great article. I never knew that some of these things could have been results and factors to all the different natural disasters we have had in the United States. The weather here has been very odd and it's interesting how Hurricane Sandy relates to all of this. It's also interesting how all these things could relate to the climate changes we have been having.
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Organic cotton down – but not out

Organic cotton down – but not out | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

TEXAS – The not-for-profit Textile Exchange has released its sixth annual Organic Cotton Market Report, which reveals a massive 37 per cent drop in organic cotton production in 2011, despite a brand survey that indicated a high proportion of retailers would actually expand their use of organic cotton. The current top users of organic cotton include H&M, C&A, Nike and Inditex.

 

The 2011 Organic Cotton Report from Textile Exchange is a mixed bag of news for the organic cotton sector with most notably a sharp 37 per cent decline in production. The biggest drop was seen in India – a country that represents 70 per cent of all organic cotton grown. Individual country production figures were not included in the report.

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European Commission could open GM pandora's box

European Commission could open GM pandora's box | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

The European Commission will soon decide whether to approve 26 genetically engineered crops for cultivation on European soil; 19 of which are genetically engineered to be tolerant to the herbicide glyphosate. The decision could irreparably affect farmers, the environment and the way food is produced in Europe.

 

In October, Greenpeace commissioned agricultural economist Dr Charles Benbrook to examine the possible consequences of approving HTGE crops. ...

 

Benbrook paints a grim picture for Europe: if EU farmers take up HTGE technology as quickly as US farmers did, glyphosate use in maize crops – the most important and widely grown crop in Europe – will increase by more than 1,000% by 2025 over current use, and total herbicide use will double. This is because HTGE crops are followed by glyphosate resistant weeds, which leads to an increase in the amount of herbicides used to tackle them.

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Climate change threatens Indian monsoon

Climate change threatens Indian monsoon | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

The Indian monsoon - on which more than a billion people depend for food crops - could fail frequently and catastrophically over the next 200 years as a result of global warming.

 

The researchers define monsoon failure as a drop of between 40 and 70 percent in rainfall, compared with normal levels - something that's never happened in the 140 years of measurements by the India Meteorological Department.

 

But by 2150, says the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Potsdam University team, the rains could be failing every fifth year. India's economy relies heavily on the monsoon season to bring fresh water to farmlands.

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PwC report argues for unprecedented CO2 cuts by 2050

PwC report argues for unprecedented CO2 cuts by 2050 | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

The world will have to cut the rate of carbon emissions by an unprecedented rate to 2050 to stop global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius this century, a report released by PwC on Monday (5 November) showed.

 

Global temperatures have already risen by about 0.8 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times. Almost 200 nations agreed in 2010 at United Nations climate talks to limit the rise to below 2 degrees C (3.6 Fahrenheit) to avoid dangerous impacts from climate change.

 

Carbon intensity will have to be cut by over 5% a year to achieve that goal, the study said. That compares with an annual rate of 0.8% from 2000 to 2011.

 

"Because of this slow start, global carbon intensity now needs to be cut by an average of 5.1% a year from now to 2050. This rate of reduction has not been achieved in any of the past 50 years," it added.

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"Climate Services" Go Global: Scientific American

"Climate Services" Go Global: Scientific American | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
A U.N.meteorological body has approved a framework for managing climate predictions to advise policy-makers and locals on crop production, infrastructure planning and disease management...

 

An international framework for providing information about how Earth’s climate will affect everything from health to disaster planning is set to bring order to an area that has given some scientists cause for concern.

 

The field of ‘climate services’ has boomed in recent years, with various organizations and individuals using climate models to advise policy-makers and local people on crop production, infrastructure planning and disease management. At the first ever ‘extraordinary session’ of the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in Geneva, Switzerland, which finished on Wednesday, members of the organization agreed on an implementation plan for a ‘Global Framework for Climate Services’ to manage how such information is gathered and communicated.

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Why Businesses Must Focus on Climate Change Mitigation AND Adaptation | WRI Insights

Why Businesses Must Focus on Climate Change Mitigation AND Adaptation | WRI Insights | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

This week, Hurricane Sandy drew attention to the increasing climate-related risks for communities and businesses.

 

More and more companies are recognizing and reporting on actions they’re taking to “mitigate” climate change, reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through energy efficiency, renewable power, and cleaner vehicles.

 

Now, businesses are finding they’ll also need to “adapt” to more volatile conditions and help vulnerable communities become more resilient. Adaptation means recognizing and preparing for impacts like water stress, coastal flooding, community health issues, or supply chain disruptions, among other issues.

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Learning From the Superstorm

Learning From the Superstorm | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

AS my home city of New York recovers from Superstorm Sandy, city leaders across the world are asking how their city would respond to a similar event and examining their resilience to extreme weather patterns.

 

While many lack the resources of New York City and the United States, the good news is that a number of low-cost solutions are available, but governments and the private sector need to start taking action now.

 

Asia in particular will see events like Sandy grow more frequent — and with even greater extremes and losses — as the confluence of climate change and rapid urbanization generate heightened vulnerabilities, especially for the hundreds of millions of urban poor residents.

 

In coming years, 60 percent of the world’s population increase will be in Asian cities. Of the cities that contain the largest numbers of people exposed to the risks of flooding caused by climate change, 5 of the top 10 are Asian. By 2070, it will be 9 of the top 10 [pdf].

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Indonesia could plant 14.5m ha of oil palm in Borneo without further deforestation

Indonesia could plant 14.5m ha of oil palm in Borneo without further deforestation | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
Indonesia could establish some 14.5 million hectares of oil palm plantations in Borneo without needing to clear rainforest or high-carbon peatlands, finds a new interactive mapping tool developed by the World Resources Institute (WRI)..

 

The tool, unveiled at the opening of the tenth meeting of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), aims to highlight specific areas in Indonesian Borneo — also known as Kalimantan — where oil palm developers could potentially establish "sustainable" oil palm plantations. These exclude forests, wetlands, and places that have been deforested since 2005, the cut-off for date for plantations to qualify for RSPO certification.

 

WRI also launched a “Forest Cover Analyzer” that provides maps of deforestation that has occurred on an annual basis in Kalimantan since 2001.

 

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Are Humans to Blame? Science Is Out

Are Humans to Blame? Science Is Out | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

From the darkened living rooms of Lower Manhattan to the wave-battered shores of Lake Michigan, the question is occurring to millions of people at once: Did the enormous scale and damage from Hurricane Sandy have anything to do with climate change?

 

A hurricane barrier in Stamford, Conn. Experts say that the storm, whatever its causes, should be seen as a warning. More Photos »
Hesitantly, climate scientists offered an answer this week that is likely to satisfy no one, themselves included. They simply do not know for sure if the storm was caused or made worse by human-induced global warming.

 

They do know, however, that the resulting storm surge along the Atlantic coast was almost certainly intensified by decades of sea-level rise linked to human emissions of greenhouse gases. And they emphasized that Hurricane Sandy, whatever its causes, should be seen as a foretaste of trouble to come as the seas rise faster, the risks of climate change accumulate and the political system fails to respond.

 

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Progress on zero toxic textile chemicals | Dyes & Chemicals News

Progress on zero toxic textile chemicals | Dyes & Chemicals News | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

LONDON – Leading apparel brands involved in the road map to zero discharge of hazardous textile chemicals in their supply chains by 2020 have reported strong progress after the most recent meeting in Portland, Oregon. Latest initiatives include plans for new pilot studies in China, Vietnam and Taiwan and the setting of a timeline next year for the phase-out of C8 fluorine-based chemistry commonly used in water and stain repellant clothing.

 

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When the chips are down: potato, maize and rice crop yields set to fall

When the chips are down: potato, maize and rice crop yields set to fall | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
Farmers in developing world will have to grow different food to prevent world going hungry in changing climate, says report...

 

"In short, extensive research needs to formulate targeted, region-by-region approaches that recalibrate agricultural production according to the effects of climate change. In some cases, this could require farmers to embrace entirely new crops," said the report.

 

The switch to new crops, however, may not be to the taste of people. Kenyans, for example, like the taste of maize – introduced by the British to feed horses. They may take some persuasion to eat ugali – a polenta-like dish – made from millet or cassava instead of maize. "This cultural challenge is another facet of climate change adaptation that should get as much attention as plant breeding," said the report.

 

"The good news is that if farmers and food producers start to adapt now, they can stave off some of the dour food production and distribution scenarios laid out in this research. But they can't face these complex, interrelated problems, which vary from crop to crop and region to region, alone. They need support from the highest levels," said Philip Thornton, the report's author.

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