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Ten African nations pledge to transform their economies to take nature into ... - Mongabay.com

Ten African nations pledge to transform their economies to take nature into ... - Mongabay.com | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

Last month ten African nations, led by Botswana, pledged to incorporate "natural capital" into their economies. Natural capital, which seeks to measure the economic worth of the services provided by ecosystems and biodiversity—for example pollination, clean water, and carbon—is a nascent, but growing, method to curtail environmental damage and ensure more sustainable development. Dubbed the Gaborone Declaration, the pledge was signed by Botswana, Liberia, Namibia, Mozambique, Rwanda, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, and Tanzania following a two day summit. ...

 

The Gaborone Declaration declares that "the historical pattern of natural resources exploitation has failed to promote sustained growth, environmental integrity and improved social capital." Noting that the Africa's people and economy are imperiled by ecosystem destruction , the leaders pledge to protect ecosystems and biodiversity from "overuse and degradation."

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Questions as Rio Summit nears - News24

Questions as Rio Summit nears - News24 | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

By almost every yardstick, as the UN Environment Programme (Unep) reported in a landmark assessment last week, our planet is sicker than ever.

 

Despite the rising prosperity in China, India and other emerging giants, billions remain in the rut of poverty.

 

And as the world's financial calamity nears its fourth anniversary, the ability - and will - of countries to embrace green growth is badly constrained.

 

"Governments are mired in crisis and their eyes are fixed on the present, whereas Rio+20 requires them to calmly draw up a future for the planet," said Brice Lalonde, a former French environment minister who is co-coordinator of the summit.

 

"It's hard to do the two things at the same time. But that, in principle, is what heads of state are there for."

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Sahel locust invasion threatens crops in Niger and Mali

Sahel locust invasion threatens crops in Niger and Mali | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

Northern Niger and Mali – areas already hit by a devastating food crisis and civil conflict – are facing a new threat in the form of locusts. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is warning that swarms of locusts are moving south from Libya and Algeria, and that early rains across the Sahel have led to the sprouting of vegetation that the insects can feed on. The warning comes as farmers across the Sahel prepare to start their annual crop planting season in the hope that a good harvest could replenish food stocks.

 

Celeste Hicks spoke to Keith Cressman, FAO's senior locust forecasting officer, about the impending threat.

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China's Evolving Sustainability Effort

China's Evolving Sustainability Effort | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

China leads the world in renewable energy (including wind and solar energy, energy efficiency, and battery technology, but excluding run-of-the-river hydropower), according to the World Wildlife Fund's Clean Economy report. Its clean technology sector saw sales grow by 30 percent to $71 billion in 2011--or 1.7 percent of GDP--leapfrogging the EU, with $59 billion. The US had $46 billion in sales. The report found China success due not only to "its lower labor and capital costs, but also because of its stable government policies, strong applied R&D and well-developed supply chain."

China also gets just under a quarter of its energy from hydroelectricity, with an installed capacity almost twice as large as the next biggest producers Canada and Brazil. Expertise gained from building more than half China's dams is also driving global expansion, with state-owned Sinohydro working on projects in 55 countries. In 2010, Sinohydro poured enough concrete to fill 20,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools and moved enough dirt to fill London's Royal Albert Hall 184 times,according to the Financial Times.

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UN climate watchdog backs new greenhouse gas protocol - Tehran Times

UN climate watchdog backs new greenhouse gas protocol - Tehran Times | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
UN climate watchdog backs new greenhouse gas protocolTehran TimesA UN climate science task force urged on Thursday the adoption of new measures aimed at providing the broadest and most accurate snapshot of carbon emissions ahead of Rio+20.

 

Armed with the latest scientific methods unveiled in Geneva by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), countries will soon be able to identify more precisely than ever their biggest sources of emissions. The greatest potential is in developing countries, where the greatest producers of carbon emissions are land use and forestry.

 

These areas are notoriously difficult to get data from, according to the IPCC, but it is vital to do so, given that they collectively contain more carbon than is present in the atmosphere.

 

Although the IPCC's Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories (TFI) has no powers to enforce implementation of its latest recommendations, there is every hope that its softly-softly approach will find plenty of takers by October 2013, the deadline for the new measures to be rolled out.

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Smart pumps promise cleaner water

Smart pumps promise cleaner water | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

Rural communities across Africa may soon benefit from improved water supplies thanks to mobile phone technology.

 

UK researchers have developed data transmitters that fit inside hand pumps and send text messages if the devices break down

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The "smart" hand pumps will be trialled shortly in 70 villages in Kenya.

 

Details of the new approach have been published in the Journal of Hydroinformatics.

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India's feisty – and effective – environmental champion - Christian Science Monitor

India's feisty – and effective – environmental champion - Christian Science Monitor | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

Don't lecture Sunita Narain. You might just find yourself on the losing side of an epic showdown.

 

That's what happened in 2003, when the nonprofit group Ms. Narain directs, the New Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), published a report about unsafe pesticide levels in bottled water. Not long after, a senior executive of PepsiCo paid Narain an unexpected visit. You don't know what you're talking about, she was menacingly told.

 

Narain was confused. The CSE's report had given Pepsi's bottled water a good rating. Why should the company care? So Narain ordered her researchers to test Pepsi's soft drinks. The result: lots of pesticides.

 

A year later, Narain found herself staring down, as she likes to put it, "the might of the American empire." Soft-drink giants Coca-Cola and PepsiCo united against her and her 130-person organization in the biggest fight of her 30-year career. She won.

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Crackdown on global forest crime

Crackdown on global forest crime | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

Interpol and the United Nations have joined forces to launch an initiative to tackle global forest crime.

 

Project Leaf will target criminals involved in illegal logging and timber trafficking.

The scheme will also provide support to enforcement agencies in countries with the biggest problems, Interpol said.

 

It is estimated that more than a quarter of the world's population relies on forests for their livelihoods, fuel, food and medicines.

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Scientists: Earth faces impending tipping point - R & D Magazine

Scientists: Earth faces impending tipping point - R & D Magazine | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

The authors of the Nature review—biologists, ecologists, complex-systems theoreticians, geologists and paleontologists from the United States, Canada, South America and Europe—argue that, although many warning signs are emerging, no one knows how close Earth is to a global tipping point, or if it is inevitable. The scientists urge focused research to identify early warning signs of a global transition and an acceleration of efforts to address the root causes.

 

“We really do have to be thinking about these global scale tipping points, because even the parts of Earth we are not messing with directly could be prone to some very major changes,” Barnosky said. “And the root cause, ultimately, is human population growth and how many resources each one of us uses.”

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Biodiversity threatened by the export of goods - Mother Nature Network

Biodiversity threatened by the export of goods - Mother Nature Network | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

The developed world's insatiable appetite for products like coffee and timber is threatening the survival of one in three vulnerable animal species in poor countries, according to an Australian study.

 

Academics at the University of Sydney spent five years tracking the world economy, evaluating over five billion supply chains connecting consumers to over 15,000 commodities produced in 187 countries.

 

They particularly focused on the global trade of goods implicated in biodiversity loss such as coffee, cocoa, and lumber, with the data cross-referenced with a global register of 25,000 vulnerable species.

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Rio+ 20 Earth summit could collapse, WWF warns

Rio+ 20 Earth summit could collapse, WWF warns | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

The Rio+ 20 Earth summit could collapse after countries failed to agree on acceptable language just two weeks before 120 world leaders arrive at the biggest UN summit ever organised, WWF warned on Wednesday.

 

An extra week given over to the UN's preparatory negotiations in New York fell into disarray over the weekend as talks aimed to bring countries together to set a new path for sustainable development splintered into 19 separate dialogues with major internal disagreements on the processes to be followed.

 

"We are facing two likely scenarios – an agreement so weak it is meaningless, or complete collapse. Neither of these options would give the world what it needs. Country positions are still too entrenched and too far apart to provide a meaningful draft agreement for approval by an expected 120 heads of state", said WWF director general Jim Leape.

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Scientists Recommend International Efforts to Halt Biodiversity Losses - Kansas City infoZine

Scientists Recommend International Efforts to Halt Biodiversity Losses - Kansas City infoZine | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

Over the past two decades, strong scientific evidence has emerged showing that decline of the world's biological diversity reduces the productivity and sustainability of ecosystems, according to an international team led by the University of Michigan's Bradley Cardinale.

 

It also decreases ecosystems' ability to provide society with goods and services like food, wood, fodder, fertile soils and protection from pests and disease.

Scientists conduct a stream experiment to track biodiversity in aquatic ecosystems. Credit: Brad Cardinale"Water purity, food production and air quality are easy to take for granted, but all are largely provided by communities of organisms," said George Gilchrist, program director in the National Science Foundation's Division of Environmental Biology, which funded the research. ...

 

Human actions are dismantling ecosystems, resulting in species extinctions at rates several orders of magnitude faster than observed in the fossil record.

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40th World Environment Day: Denmark, Scotland Pave the Way to the Green Economy

40th World Environment Day: Denmark, Scotland Pave the Way to the Green Economy | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

Denmark’s Parliament at the end of March passed legislation that established two of the most ambitious renewable energy targets of any nation: 35% by 2020 and 100% by 2050. Wind energy currently supplies 25% of Denmark’s electricity, and it’s expected to supply 50% by 2020 The remainder is to come from a mix of renewable heat, smart grid, biogas and other green technologies.

 

West across the North Sea, Scotland’s made even greater gains, and plans to go Denmark one better in the coming decade. Renewable electricity accounted for more than 1/3 of Scotland’s gross domestic consumption last year, exceeding an ambitious 31% target. Moreover, Scotland’s on pace to meet 100% of electricity demand from renewable resources by 2020 and still produce a surplus for export.

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Will Rio+20 Advance Sustainable Development? - Forbes

Will Rio+20 Advance Sustainable Development? - Forbes | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

Expectations are high for Rio+20, but the outcomes are likely to be very different from the first Rio conference twenty years ago. ...

 

The multilateral negotiations may be necessary, but they are clearly not sufficient to advance sustainable development. With many companies now fully aware of the business case for sustainability and with many non-profits now connecting the dots between environmental responsibility, social equity and poverty alleviation, one of the likely outcomes of Rio will be an increased commitment by the private sector to get on with the job of developing the global economy sustainably.

 

Let’s see how all this unfolds over the coming days.

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Malaysia to protect environment in chasing development - Muhyiddin - Sin Chew Jit Poh

Malaysia to protect environment in chasing development - Muhyiddin - Sin Chew Jit Poh | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

Malaysia today gave the assurance that it will never sacrifice its natural environment well-endowed with flora and fauna in its eagerness to become a developed country.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the government had taken various measures to protect the national treasure, including introducing laws and policies on conservation of the environment and biodiversity. ...

 

"The demand for development is always there, the demand for land utilisation in plantation areas is always there, but there must be a balance between development and conservation of the environment. This is the responsibility of not only the ministries and the government but also the states.

 

"In our eagerness to become a developed country, Malaysia will not sacrifice the environmental treasure we have," he said.

 

He said the government was committed to ensuring that at least 50 per cent of the country remained environmentally green as agreed upon at the Rio Earth Summit 1992.

Muhyiddin, who is also education minister, said it was also important to educate the young to enable them realise the importance of protecting the environment.

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Earth warming at a much faster rate

Earth warming at a much faster rate | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

China's carbon emissions could be nearly 20% higher than previously thought, a new analysis of official Chinese data showed on Sunday, suggesting the pace of global climate change could be even faster than currently predicted.

 

China has already overtaken the US as the world's top greenhouse gas polluter, producing about a quarter of mankind's carbon pollution that scientists say is heating the planet and triggering more extreme weather.

 

But pinning down an accurate total for China's carbon emissions has long been a challenge because of doubts about the quality of its official energy use data. It is used to compute how the planet's climate will change, helping plan for more extremes of drought, flood and the impact on crops

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As Japan debris washes up in the US, scientists fear break in natural order

As Japan debris washes up in the US, scientists fear break in natural order | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

The dock, torn loose from a fishing port on the northern tip of Japan, was covered with 1.5 tons of seaweed, mussels, barnacles and even a few starfish. Volunteers scraped it all off, buried it above the high water line, and sterilized the top and sides of the dock with torches.

 

But there was no telling whether they might already have released spores or larvae that could establish a foothold in a bay or estuary as it floated along the coast, Carlton said.

One thing they know is that the bigger the debris, the more likely it has something on it.
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Galapágos menaced by tourist invasion

Galapágos menaced by tourist invasion | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

... "there is nowhere quite like the Galápagos. In every sense. For its profound isolation in the Pacific Ocean, its unique biodiversity – home to hundreds of endemic species – and for its pristine, untouched environment.

 

Except, as even a glance around the harbour of Puerto Ayora, the main town on the island of Santa Cruz, will show you, it's no longer pristine. A filmy slick of oil shines on the surface of the water where hundreds of boats wait to receive the next intake of tourists. And beyond is a large town, a mess of shanty suburbs and half-finished hotels. The ground water is contaminated and there's no proper sewerage. Dozens and dozens of Toyota pickups wait to ferry the tourists around."

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Ghana - Protect the Environment for Posterity's Sake- GEJA - AllAfrica.com

Ghana - Protect the Environment for Posterity's Sake- GEJA - AllAfrica.com | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

Ghana seems to be struggling in chalking up successes in protecting the environment and sustaining the livelihood of Ghanaians. We have heard of the challenges confronting fishermen in the Western region and other fishing communities across the country where strange weeds have invaded water bodies meant for fishing.

 

The country also lacks a policy on managing electronic wastes which has given room to scrappers in Accra and elsewhere to adopt their own ways of destroying these waste materials. If care is not taken and stakeholders do not take drastic actions to streamline the manner which the environment is being polluted, the citizenry is at risk of suffering long term consequences.

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BC, Ontario score highest in environmental progress: report - CBC.ca

BC, Ontario score highest in environmental progress: report - CBC.ca | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

British Columbia and Ontario score highest in environmental stewardship, according to a national report card published by a Canadian business magazine.

 

Corporate Knights, a Toronto-based quarterly focused on "clean capitalism," released its Green Provinces 2012 survey today.

 

B.C. and Ontario both score an A- in the survey, with Prince Edward Island finishing close behind with a B+. Alberta and Saskatchewan sit at the bottom, each with a rating of C.

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Exclusive: undercover inside the US dairy industry

With planning permission for Britain's biggest dairy at Nocton about to be re-submitted, The Ecologist travels to California to examine intensive milk production - and finds factory farms, conflict, intimidation, pesticides, pollution and small-scale farmers driven out of business...

 

Read the full investigation here http://www.theecologist.org/trial_investigations/604210/span_stylecolor_redun..


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Biodiversity loss leaving us high and dry - Futurity: Research News

Biodiversity loss leaving us high and dry - Futurity: Research News | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

Presented in the June 7 edition of Nature, the scientific consensus statement summarizes evidence that has emerged from more than 1,000 ecological studies conducted since the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“We believe that ongoing loss of biological diversity is diminishing the ability of ecosystems to sustain human societies,” says Andrew Gonzalez, associate professor of biology and the Quebec Centre for Biodiversity Science at McGill University and author on the paper.


“We’ve reached a point where efforts to preserve species and biological diversity might no longer be an act of altruism,” says co-author Diane Srivastava, professor of zoology and the Biodiversity Research Centre at University of British Columbia. ...


The balance of evidence reviewed in the study shows that genetic diversity increases the yield of commercial crops, enhances the production of wood in tree plantations, improves the production of fodder in grasslands, and increases the stability of yields in fisheries.


Plant diversity also contributes to greater resistance to invasion by exotic plants, inhibits plant pathogens such as fungal and viral infections, enhances above-ground carbon sequestration through enhanced biomass, and increases nutrient re-mineralization and soil organic matter.

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North Carolina tries to wish away sea-level rise

North Carolina tries to wish away sea-level rise | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
Mother Jones: US state proposes new law that would ignore grim projections of a one-metre sea-level rise by the end of the century...

 

It goes on, but there's the core: North Carolina legislators have decided that the way to make exponential increases in sea level rise – caused by those inconvenient feedback loops we keep hearing about from scientists – go away is to make it against the law to extrapolate exponential; we can only extrapolate along a line predicted by previous sea level rises.

 

Which, yes, is exactly like saying, do not predict tomorrow's weather based on radar images of a hurricane swirling offshore, moving west towards us with 60-mph winds and ten inches of rain. Predict the weather based on the last two weeks of fair weather with gentle breezes towards the east. Don't use radar and barometers; use the Farmer's Almanac and what grandpa remembers.

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Asian Air Pollution Warms U.S More than Our GHG Emissions (More futility for U.S. EPA) — MasterResource

Asian Air Pollution Warms U.S More than Our GHG Emissions (More futility for U.S. EPA) — MasterResource | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

A new study provides evidence that air pollution emanating from Asia will warm the U.S. as much or more than warming from U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. 

 

The implication? Efforts by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (and otherwise) to mitigate anthropogenic climate change is moot.

 

If the future temperature rise in the U.S. is subject to the whims of Asian environmental and energy policy, then what sense does it make for Americans to have their energy choices regulated by efforts aimed at mitigating future temperature increases across the country—efforts which will have less of an impact on temperatures than the policies enacted across Asia?

 

Maybe the EPA should reconsider the perceived effectiveness of its greenhouse gas emission regulations—at least when it comes to impacting temperatures across the U.S.

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Science and Environment: Scientists warn geoengineering may disrupt rainfall

Science and Environment: Scientists warn geoengineering may disrupt rainfall | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
LONDON June 6 Reuters - Large-scale engineering projects aimed at fighting global warming could radically reduce rainfall in Europe and North America.

 

In this new study scientists from Germany, Norway, France and the UK used four different computer models that mimic the earth's climate to see how they responded to increased levels of carbon dioxide coupled with reduced radiation from the sun. 

 

Their scenario assumed a world with four times the carbon dioxide concentration of the preindustrial world, which lead author Hauke Schmidt says is at the upper end, but in the range of what is considered possible at the end of this century. ...

 

Under the scenario studied, rainfall diminished by about 15 percent, or about 100 millimetres per year, compared to pre-industrial levels, in large areas of North America and northern Eurasia.

 

Over central South America, all the models showed a decrease in rainfall that reached more than 20 percent in parts of the Amazon region.

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