Environmental Policy

African nations agree to put a price on nature

Ten African nations have pledged, ahead of Rio+20, to include the economic value of natural resources in their national accounts. Africa has taken the lead in the quest to persuade nations to include the full economic value of their natural resources in their national accounts, with the promise last month by ten of its nations to do so.

Atrazine to be Banned? Frogs will be happy!
June 8, 2012 07:40 AM - Rhett Butler, MONGABAY.COM

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will weigh a ban on Atrazine, a widely used herbicide linked to sex reversal and other reproductive problems in amphibians and fish. The chemical, which is manufactured by Syngenta, has been banned in the European Union since 2004 but some 80 million pounds Atrazine are applied to corn, sugarcane, sorghum and rice in the United States each year. Environmentalists say the effects of Atrazine on wildlife make its use unacceptable and are pushing the EPA to ban the chemical. The agency will be holding a Scientific Advisory Panel public meeting June 12th to discuss the ecological risks of Atrazine. Save The Frogs, a group that works to protect amphibians, welcomed the move.

World's biggest cities are tapping into the green economy benefits
June 7, 2012 09:33 AM - ClickGreen staff, ClickGreen

Cities around the world have identified the economic benefits from tackling the effects of climate change, according to a new report released today by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). The CDP study found 82% of cities are tapping into the potential for growth as a result of climate change adaptation and more than half of cities are looking to create green jobs and new business initiatives.

Sustainable Packaging goes upscale
June 7, 2012 08:03 AM - Akhila Vijayaraghavan, Triple Pundit

Packaging has always been a bone of contention for cosmetic companies. With sustainability standards increasing, most companies are wanting to use more sustainable packaging material. Major companies like Chanel, Coty, Avon, L'Oreal Group, Mast Global and Estee Lauder are now inaugural members of an initiative created by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers’ Institute for Sustainability that aims to find ways to work with suppliers, retailers and customers to advance sustainable packaging. The Environmental Leader reports that the Sustainable Packaging Roundtable, which kicked off last month, will focus on how to drive and measure progress in sustainability. Cosmetic companies are becoming more aware of sustainable packaging and are incorporating this into their CSR initiatives. Companies that are involved in the roundtable agree that packaging should reflect design, reuse and recovery rather than the traditional reduce and recycle approach.

Rio Environmental talks may collapse: WWF
June 6, 2012 07:12 AM - Editor, WWF

Two weeks out from the 20-year reprise of the Rio Earth Summit, and two years after negotiations started, global conservation organization WWF issued a World Environment Day warning that failures of commitment, failures of process and failures of leadership could lead to the collapse of talks on achieving a long-term sustainable world. "Currently we are a long way from where we need to be in these negotiations," said WWF Director General, Jim Leape. "Heads of State still have a unique opportunity in Rio to set the world on a path to sustainable development — but they need to step up their game dramatically. As things currently stand, 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."

France to ban pesticide linked to Bee Colony collapses
June 5, 2012 06:49 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM

Following research linking neonicotinoid pesticides to the decline in bee populations, France has announced it plans to ban Cruiser OSR, an insecticide produced by Sygenta. Recent studies, including one in France, have shown that neonicotinoid pesticides likely hurt bees' ability to navigate, potentially devastating hives. France has said it will give Sygenta two weeks to prove the pesticide is not linked to the bee decline, known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). France's decision comes after its National Agency for Food, Safety, and the Environment (ANSES) confirmed the findings of two recent studies published in Science. The two studies found that neonicotinoid pesticides, although not immediately lethal, likely hurt bee colonies over a period of time.

Now Greece is looking at an energy crisis
June 4, 2012 07:24 AM - EurActive

Greece's debt crisis threatened to turn into an energy crunch, with the power regulator calling an emergency meeting this week to avert a collapse of the country's electricity and natural gas system. Regulator RAE called the emergency meeting on 1 June after receiving a letter from Greece's natural gas company DEPA, dated 31 May, threatening to cut supplies to electricity producers if they failed to settle their arrears with the company. An energy crisis would add to the debt-stricken country's political and financial strains, threatening households and businesses with power cuts ahead of a 17 June election which may decide if the country will stay within the euro.

European Parliament considers curbing food ads aimed at the young
June 3, 2012 10:18 AM - EurActive

The European Parliament has renewed calls to curb food and beverage advertising aimed at children and young people, with some MEPs even calling for a total ban on beer commercials aimed at youth. But it's not necessary, says the industry, "We can regulate ourselves". The European Parliament in a resolution last week (22 May) called on the EU Commission to analyse "whether stricter rules are needed regarding advertising aimed at children and young people," who are considered more vulnerable than other consumer groups. Children and young people "are more sensitive to advertising for food with high fat, salt and sugar content," the Parliament resolution says, underlining that this particular age group "increasingly suffer the consequences of sedentariness and obesity".

Arctic Monitoring Stations Report CO2 Levels of 400 parts per million
June 2, 2012 09:10 AM - Thomas Schueneman, Global Warming is Real

The Arctic region continues to serve as the global climate "canary in a coal" mine. Now, as with average temperature rise, the region is leading into a new troubling milestone as monitoring stations near a remote outpost near Barrow, Alaska are among several such stations to report that average concentrations of CO2 have reached an average of 400 parts per million (PPM) this spring. "The northern sites in our monitoring network tell us what is coming soon to the globe as a whole," reports atmospheric scientist Pieter Tans with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA). "We will likely see global average CO2 concentrations reach 400 ppm about 2016."

North Korea lifts the veil on its agroforestry practices
June 1, 2012 08:37 AM - Mike Ives, SciDevNet

A new study offers a rare glimpse into North Korea's agriculture and forestry policies, and may open up new international connections with the country, say researchers. The report describes how locally appropriate, participatory agroforestry is helping reverse food shortages and land degradation.

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