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Environmental News Network -- Know Your Environment



Environmental Policy

Melting Arctic Ice May Usher in New Era of Geopolitical Conflict
April 4, 2012 09:36 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

Countries of the Far North are set to be the new players in the emerging Arctic frontier. The polar ice cap is melting at much faster rates than previously predicted, and may be completely ice free by the summer of 2040 or sooner. There are vast untapped resources in the Arctic Ocean such as new shipping lanes, fishing grounds, tourism, and it is believed to contain the largest of the world's remaining energy reserves. This year has brought about a frenzy of oil and gas exploration which will only increase as the ice recedes. The coming summer will bring an even more intense search for resources. Cooperation will be required among the northern nations to avert territorial disputes and conflicts at the top of the world.

General Mills Releases 2012 Global Responsibility Report
April 4, 2012 08:25 AM - General Mills, Justmeans

General Mills today released its 2012 Global Responsibility Report, detailing the company’s progress in the areas of health, communities and environment. The 2012 report can be viewed or downloaded at GeneralMills.com. Highlights from General Mills’ efforts to nourish lives around the globe this past year include: Reaching the halfway mark toward achieving three of the company’s 2015 global sustainability goals: water, solid waste and packaging. General Mills is more than 50 percent of the way to achieving a 20 percent reduction in its water usage rate and a 50 percent reduction in its solid waste generation rate. In addition, the company has improved the packaging for 27 percent of its sales volume —more than halfway toward the 40 percent goal.

Bottled water industry wages PR battle against tap water
April 4, 2012 06:41 AM - Eifion Rees, The Ecologist

Worried by a dip in sales, Nestlé is among the companies waging a million-pound public relations war to turn the public off tap water and back onto plastic bottled water Bottled water is the totemic bĂȘte noire of the environmental world, a multibillion-dollar industry that takes what in the west is clean and readily available from the tap, packages it up in non-biodegradable plastic and sells it back to consumers at hugely inflated prices. And yet sales continue to rise. In 2010, more than 2bn litres were consumed in the UK — 33 litres per person, a figure projected to rise to 40 litres by 2020.

Ocean Heating over the past hundred years
April 3, 2012 07:08 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM

In 1872 the HMS Challenger pulled out from Portsmouth, England to begin an unprecedented scientific expedition of the world's oceans. During its over three year journey the HMS Challenger not only collected thousands of new species and sounded unknown ocean depths, but also took hundreds of temperature readings—data which is now proving invaluable to our understanding of climate change. Utilizing the temperature data from the HMS Challenger expedition and comparing it to contemporary temperatures, researchers writing in Nature Climate Change found that the oceans' surface— where marine warming is most intense—saw temperature rise on average by 0.59 degrees Celsius (1.1 degrees Fahrenheit) over the past 135 years or so. This implies that oceanic temperatures have been rising for at least a century.

Earth Hour biggest ever this year
April 1, 2012 09:25 AM - Editor, WWF

Last night, as Earth Hour beganits monumental journey around the globe, hundreds of millions of people united to demonstrate that we urgently need to take action to protect our planet. The largest voluntary action for the environment is reaching further than ever before. Earth Hour was celebrated in a record 150 countries and territories and 6494 towns and cities to send the message that our combined efforts are needed to change our future to one that is sustainable.

Planet Under Pressure Conference - State of the Planet Declaration Issued
March 31, 2012 07:07 AM - Aisling Irwin, SciDevNet

Earth has only one decade to pull itself back from various environmental 'tipping points' — points at which the damage becomes irreversible, scientists have said. If it fails to do so, it is likely to witness a series of breakdowns in the systems that sustain people, such as oceans and soil, according to a major meeting on safeguarding the planet's future, the Planet Under Pressure conference (26—29 March). "Research now demonstrates that the continued functioning of the Earth system as it has supported the wellbeing of human civilization in recent centuries is at risk," said some of the world's leading documenters of global environmental change in the first 'State of the Planet' declaration.

Scotland on the High Road to Sustainable Energy
March 30, 2012 07:10 AM - Staff, ClickGreen

Scotland is on course to smash its renewable energy targets after official figures revealed record-high levels of green power generation. The Scottish Government's Energy Minister Fergus Ewing welcomed the publication of the statistics that confirms Scotland will beat the 2011 renewables target. Statistics published today show that the amount of renewable electricity generated in 2011 rose 45 per cent on 2010 to 13,750 Gigawatt hours.

Rio+20 zero draft accepts 'planetary boundaries'
March 29, 2012 05:29 AM - Yojana Sharma, SciDevNet

The latest draft of the so-called 'zero draft' document, which will be presented to heads of government at the Rio+20 Summit in June, has been amended to include an acknowledgement that there are scientifically assessed 'planetary boundaries' which, if overstepped, could result in irreversible damage to the Earth's sytems. The draft is being prepared by national delegates to the United Nations, and will ultimately be presented to heads of government at the Summit for their endorsement.

Sustainable Cities: Meeting the Challenge of Rapid Urbanization the Focus of "Planet Under Pressure 2012"
March 28, 2012 10:21 AM - Andrew Burger, Triple Pundit

Addressing the social, environmental and economic challenges associated with rapid and growing urbanization is bringing some 3,000 experts from around the world together in London this week for the "Planet Under Pressure 2012" conference. With world population forecast to increase from 7 billion today to more than 9 billion by 2050, humanity's urban footprint will take up 1.5 million more square kilometers of land by 2030 at current rates, an area comparable to that of France, Germany and Spain combined. That translates into an average 1 million more city dwellers every week for the next 38 years...

Economic Impacts of Climate Change may be huge
March 28, 2012 07:07 AM - Luisa Massarani, SciDevNet

Climate change could reduce the economic value of the services the oceans provide to mankind by almost US$2 trillion a year by 2100, according to a study presented at the Planet Under Pressure conference this week (26—29 March). The analysis, conducted by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), relates to loss of income from fisheries, tourism, ocean carbon sink, and those related to sea-level rise and storms.

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