Environmental Policy

Europe's Plastic Bag Agreement Contested by Industry
November 26, 2014 09:14 AM - Ecaterina Casinge, EurActiv

As lawmakers reached agreement this week to limit the use of plastic bags across Europe, industry voices warned that such rules will have a negative impact on trade in Europe's internal market. The ban could also lead to different standards in legislation in member states and ultimately, to a ban on other types of packaging, according to PlasticsEurope, the association of plastics manufacturers. The European Parliament and the Council agreed on Friday (21 November) on EU-wide legislation obliging member states to reduce the use of plastic bags. The law will apply only to bags with a thickness below 0.05mm, because they are less reusable, and turn into waste more quickly.

Establishing marine protected areas to fight illegal fishing
November 25, 2014 09:10 AM - Kerry Klein, MONGABAY.COM

Do you know how that tuna sashimi got to your dinner plate? Probably not—and chances are, the restaurant that served it to you doesn’t know, either. A new policy paper argues that illicit fishing practices are flying under the radar all around the world, and global society must combat them in order to keep seafood on the menu. According to the paper, published in Science, fishing practices that are illegal, unreported and unregulated (collectively referred to as IUU) are ubiquitous. They range from bottom trawlers scouring the seafloor—sometimes catching more illegal species than legal ones—to small boats simply not reporting their catch. 

Farms as sites for renewable energy
November 21, 2014 07:00 AM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen

UK farms could be a major player in a shift towards a resilient, low-carbon energy system, according to a landmark report launched today by the Farm Power coalition. 

The coalition, which is made up of a growing number of farming bodies, businesses and NGOs, are now calling on policymakers and other key stakeholders, including supermarkets, to support the renewable energy vision.

The research carried out by sustainability non-profit Forum for the Future, which leads the coalition, and Nottingham Trent University, found there was at least 10GW of untapped resource across UK farms – equivalent to more than three times the installed capacity of the proposed new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point C.

Not so fast: Planting trees might cause warming?
November 20, 2014 03:29 PM - Bristol University

Afforestation (planting trees) to mitigate climate change could cause warming rather than cooling globally due to non-carbon effects of land use change, according to new research from the University of Bristol.

Global land use change and its interaction with the climate system is recognised as an important component of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s future climate scenarios.

EU Court Rules Against UK For Failure to Tackle Air Pollution
November 19, 2014 11:57 AM - Keith Taylor, MEP, The Ecologist

A landmark judgment by the European Court of Justice compels the UK Government to act as soon as possible to reduce air pollution in British cities, writes Keith Taylor - and a good thing too for our health, safety and wellbeing. But it's not just the UK that benefits: every EU country must also comply with the ruling.

Obama Announces $3 Billion Pledge to U.N. Climate Fund
November 17, 2014 08:00 AM - RP Siegel, Triple Pundit

Right on the heels of his historic climate agreement with China, President Barack Obama announced a pledge of $3 billion to the United Nations’ thus far underfunded Green Climate Fund. The fund was formally established in 2010 at the U.N. Climate Change conference in Cancun. The purpose of the fund was to redistribute resources between the developed world and the developing world in order to assist developing countries in their effort to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Electric vehicles WILL go mass market. Here's why.
November 16, 2014 08:09 AM - BOB SHETH, Electric Forum

Over the last 100 years there have been a number of attempts from electric vehicle enthusiasts to push them into the mass market. Unfortunately the vast majority of these attempts have failed for a variety of reasons, often out of the control of the market itself, but today we stand in a very different place and electric vehicles will eventually go mass-market. We hereby list five reasons why electric vehicles are here to stay in the longer term: –

Technology

There have been enormous leaps in electric vehicle technology over the last 10 years which not only offer greater efficiency but also give the driving public greater confidence. This technology continues to advance at breathtaking speed not only in the area of electric vehicles themselves but also battery technology. In many ways the development of new technologies is putting gasoline vehicles in the shadows and grabbing the headlines.

New protection for migratory birds
November 14, 2014 01:53 PM - Editor, The Ecologist

Two new international agreements will help to save migratory birds from hunting, trapping and poisoning, and to protect their long-distance flyways. A key objective is to phase out lead shot within three years, and eliminate the toxic drug diclofenac.

Uranium mining in Greenland an election year issue
November 14, 2014 09:55 AM - EurActiv

The upcoming general elections in Greenland may see the country moving away from the idea of extracting and exploiting uranium, which the government voted in favour of just a year ago.

Uranium mining, the hottest topic in the the cold, Arctic country in recent years, was put on the agenda by former prime minister Aleqa Hammond in 2013, after 25 years with a 'zero tolerance' policy to mining of radioactive substances and oil drilling.

Want to Help Fight Wildlife Crimes? There's an App for that!
November 13, 2014 03:43 PM - Alicia Graef, Care2

We know wildlife trafficking has become a huge problem for wild animals and imperiled species, but making it illegal is only part of the solution. Without the ability to identify wildlife products moving through ports, authorities have less power to stop the trade. The good news, according to a recent report published in the journal Biological Conservation, is that conservationists are successfully developing mobile apps to help authorities working around the world with the identification of wildlife that they believe are helping crack down on the problem.

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