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The Worldwatch Institute offers a unique blend of interdisciplinary research, global focus, and accessible writing that has made it a leading source of information on the interactions among key environmental, social, and economic trends. Our work revolves around the transition to an environmentally sustainable and socially just society—and how to achieve it.
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The Benefits of a Low-Carbon Future
September 27, 2007 08:45 AM - Janet L. Swain, Worldwatch Institute
Yesterday, we weighed in on the need for stronger leadership on climate change from the United States and China in light of this week’s landmark meetings at the UN and White House. Today, we’ll provide a run-down of the benefits of addressing climate change—and what we stand to lose if we don’t.
The Stern Report, compiled for the UK government and released in late 2006, estimates that the costs of climate change under a "business-as-usual" scenario could equal the loss of 5 to 20 percent of gross world product each year. In contrast, the report puts the costs of efforts to avoid the worst impacts at only about 1 percent of gross world product. Since then, the International Energy Agency and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have issued similar conclusions.
Despite Progress Against Trafficking, World Still Hungry for Exotic Creatures
September 26, 2007 08:46 AM - , Worldwatch Institute
Earlier this month, the Chinese government invited law enforcement officers from the Association of South East Asian Nations Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN) to meet with counterparts in China to discuss strategies to combat the illegal wildlife trade. Conservationists applauded the historic move, but say there is still much to learn. “It’s hard to gauge to what degree the trade may be getting better or worse,” notes Steven Galster of the PeunPa Foundation, a Thai group that works to end wildlife trafficking.
China Needs New Environmental Policies, SEPA Says
September 25, 2007 08:07 AM - , Worldwatch Institute
At a Green China Forum meeting earlier this month, Pan Yue, the vice president of China’s State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), made an unequivocal statement about the need to address the nation’s mounting environmental challenges. “There is no time for China to wait for the launch of environmental economic policies,” he said.
Worldwatch Perspective: With the 2007 Farm Bill, the Local Goes Global
September 24, 2007 08:34 AM - , Worldwatch Institute
The 2007 Farm Bill, a critical piece of legislation that highlights America’s agricultural priorities, has been on lawmakers’ agendas this fall. With the authority of the 2002 Bill due to run out by the end of the year, more than 65 proposals put forward by the U.S. Department of Agriculture are in need of extension or reauthorization. The Farm Bill is also seen as evidence of the U.S. government’s commitment to rural areas, and is recognized for its investments in alternative energy sources and food production.
10 Easy Pieces
September 23, 2007 11:03 AM - , Worldwatch Institute
The most inspiring thing I’ve read lately about the oceans is “10 Solutions to Save the Ocean,” a series of short, upbeat, and to-the-point essays in the latest issue of Conservation magazine.
Worldwatch Perspective: The Meaning of $80 Oil
September 21, 2007 07:35 AM - Christopher Flavin, Worldwatch Institute
The price of oil hit its highest level in a quarter-century this week—and is now closing in on the inflation-adjusted record set in 1981. What’s so surprising, though, is not the high price of oil—at over $80 a barrel—but the timing of this price increase. Most economists predict that the world economy will soon cool, and autumn is usually the season when oil prices fall.
China’s Policy of Returning Farmland to Forests Must Be Upheld
September 20, 2007 07:40 AM - , Worldwatch Institute
China is witnessing a dangerous trend. The country’s policy of returning farmland to forests is faltering, and many areas are opting out of this activity in a push to protect local farmers. They are recklessly expanding farmlands that should have been replaced with forests under the policy, or they have simply allowed farmers to continue cultivating steep hillsides.
SOS for Fading Ocean Life
September 19, 2007 11:23 AM - , Worldwatch Institute
WASHINGTON, D.C.— Creating “national parks of the sea” may be the only effective way to reverse trends that have left 76 percent of world fish stocks fully- or over-exploited and marine biodiversity at severe risk, according to the new report, Oceans in Peril: Protecting Marine Biodiversity, released today by the Worldwatch Institute.
Can Corporations Help Chinese Nonprofits Overcome Funding Barriers?
September 19, 2007 08:04 AM - Lila Buckley, Worldwatch Institute
One of the major barriers to the growth of civil society in China is the lack of funding to support a wide diversity of organizations and projects. There are no Chinese foundations to which groups can apply for grants, there is no established culture of public or corporate philanthropy, and there are no tax incentives to encourage donations. This means that most Chinese non-profits are forced to seek funding from foundations and governments outside the country, a process that often requires international philanthropy savvy and language skills that not all groups have.
Pesticides Pose Risk in Rural and Urban Communities Alike
September 19, 2007 08:01 AM - Alana Herro, Worldwatch Institute
n a recent study of 60 children of Latino farmworkers in the U.S. state of North Carolina, nearly 90 percent of those tested were found to have pesticide metabolites in their urine, according to a report in Environmental Health Perspectives. On average, the children had four different pesticides present in their urine, posing a potential long-term health risk. “Because children are so much smaller than adults and because they are developing rapidly, the effects of pesticides on their neurological systems can be devastating,” says Danielle Nierenberg, a food and agriculture researcher at the Worldwatch Institute in Washington, D.C.