Environmental Policy

New map shows way to reducing roads' destruction of nature
January 20, 2017 12:57 PM - Tim Radford, The Ecologist

Scientists are calling for the urgent protection of ecologically valuable roadless areas, writes Tim Radford, as a new global map shows that roads lead to loss of biodiversity and damage to ecosystems by fragmenting habitat and providing access to exploiters.

Mapping out a low-carbon future
January 20, 2017 09:26 AM - Mark Dwortzan

Fulfilling the promise of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change — most notably the goal of limiting the rise in mean global surface temperature since preindustrial times to 2 degrees Celsius — will require a dramatic transition away from fossil fuels and toward low-carbon energy sources. To map out that transition, decision-makers routinely turn to energy scenarios, which use computational models to project changes to the energy mix that will be needed to meet climate and environmental targets. These models account for not only technological, economic, demographic, political, and institutional developments, but also the scope, timing, and stringency of policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.

Halley Research Station Antarctica to close for winter
January 16, 2017 01:23 PM - British Antarctic Survey (BAS) - Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)

British Antarctic Survey (BAS) has decided not to winter at Halley VI Research Station for safety reasons. The station, which is located on the floating Brunt Ice Shelf in Antarctica, will shut down between March and November 2017.  Changes to the ice, particularly the growth of a new crack, presents a complex glaciological picture that means that BAS scientists are unable to predict with certainty what will happen to the ice shelf during the forthcoming Antarctic winter. As a precautionary measure BAS will remove its people before the Antarctic winter begins.

On Food Waste, the US could learn a lot from Europe
January 13, 2017 07:28 AM - Nithin Coca , Triple Pundit

The U.S. tosses a staggering $161 billion worth of food every year. While numerous efforts are underway to address that problem, they are taking place mostly at the local level or in the business sector. While that is necessary, national- and international-level policy has a role to play as well. And that is one area in which Europe is far ahead.

China Announces End to Ivory Trade in 2017
January 4, 2017 06:18 PM - Laura Goldman, Care2

In an announcement that could prove to be extremely good news for elephants in the wild, the Chinese government has promised to end its domestic ivory market by the end of this year.

Every year, thousands of elephants are killed for their tusks by poachers. Between 2011 and 2014, more than 100,000 elephants were slaughtered. The African elephant population dropped 30 percent from 2007 to 2014. More elephants are being killed than are being born.

Global climate target could net additional six million tons of fish annually
December 24, 2016 07:50 AM - University of British Columbia

If countries abide by the Paris Agreement global warming target of 1.5 degrees Celsius, potential fish catches could increase by six million metric tons per year, according to a new study published in Science.

The researchers also found that some oceans are more sensitive to changes in temperature and will have substantially larger gains from achieving the Paris Agreement.

East Greenland ice sheet has responded to climate change for the last 7.5 million years
December 8, 2016 09:42 AM - Anne M Stark via DOE / Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Using marine sediment cores containing isotopes of aluminum and beryllium, a group of international researchers has discovered that East Greenland experienced deep, ongoing glacial erosion over the past 7.5 million years.

The research reconstructs ice sheet erosion dynamics in that region during the past 7.5 million years and has potential implications for how much the ice sheet will respond to future interglacial warming.

The team, made up of researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, University of Vermont, Boston College and Imperial College London, analyzed sediments eroded from the continent and deposited in the ocean off the coast, which are like a time capsule preserving records of glacial processes. The research appears in the Dec. 8 edition of the journal, Nature.

When Permafrost Melts, What Happens to All That Stored Carbon?
December 6, 2016 08:55 AM - Stacy Morford via The Earth Institute at Columbia University

The Arctic’s frozen ground contains large stores of organic carbon that have been locked in the permafrost for thousands of years. As global temperatures rise, that permafrost is starting to melt, raising concerns about the impact on the climate as organic carbon becomes exposed. A new study is shedding light on what that could mean for the future by providing the first direct physical evidence of a massive release of carbon from permafrost during a warming spike at the end of the last ice age.

The study, published this week in the journal Nature Communications, documents how Siberian soil once locked in permafrost was carried into the Arctic Ocean during that period at a rate about seven times higher than today.

The Paris Climate Deal Is Now in Force. What Comes Next?
December 4, 2016 09:07 PM - Steve Williams, Care2

The Paris Agreement was hailed as a turning point for world governments tackling climate change, and it has now come into effect. What does this mean for the world — and where do we go from here?

On Friday, November 4, the Paris Agreement went into effect, meaning that the agreement made last year by nearly 200 international delegates must now be honored. To recognize the consensus coming into force, the United Nations stated that it is a moment to celebrate – and to take concerted action.

“We remain in a race against time,” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon emphasized. ”Now is the time to strengthen global resolve, do what science demands and seize the opportunity to build a safer, more sustainable world for all.”

To Fight Air Pollution, Four Cities Announce Ban on Diesel Cars By 2025
December 2, 2016 04:15 PM - Yale Environment 360

Four of the world’s largest cities announced Friday that they will ban diesel cars by 2025 in an effort to cut air pollution. Leaders from Paris, Madrid, Athens, and Mexico City made the declaration at the C40 Mayors Summit, a biennial meeting of civic leaders concerned about climate change. 

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