Environmental Policy

Famine in Africa: Can Reforestation Improve Food Security?
September 14, 2011 10:57 AM - Karimeh Moukaddem, MONGABAY.COM

Millions of people across the Horn of Africa are suffering under a crippling regional drought and tens of thousands have died during the accompanying famine. Refuge camps in Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia are swelling with the hungry. The best hope in the short-term is food aid and logistical support, but in the longer term, dryland reforestation efforts may help improve food security, argues a new report from the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), which links human-caused land degradation, including deforestation, to intensified drought.

Team of International Marine Scientists Call for Ban on Deep Sea Fishing
September 9, 2011 09:29 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

Fishing restrictions near the coast lines have been in place for many years, of which many local fishermen are well aware. These restrictions are understood to be vital in maintaining a stable population of wild fish for harvesting. In recent years, due to these restrictions, many industrial fishing vessels have ventured deeper into the open ocean which are unregulated. Their massive nets literally destroy benthic ecosystems and annihilate fish populations. According to the UN, the harvesting of deep sea fish has increased sevenfold between 1960 and 2004. In an article published in the journal, Marine Policy, scientists in the field of marine conservation have called for an outright ban on industrial deep sea fishing.

Jews, Muslims, Christians in Israel Unite for Planet Earth
September 9, 2011 08:21 AM - Karin Kloosterman, Green Prophet

They're doing in person and specifically in Israel what Green Prophet has been doing for the last four years: showing a faith based and cultural context in environmental action. Launched last year, meet the Jerusalem-based Interfaith Center working on issues like climate change.

White House Rejects EPA Proposal to Strengthen Smog Standards
September 7, 2011 12:49 PM - Jonathan Kalmuss-Katz, Sive Paget & Riesel, P.C.

On Friday, September 2, 2011, the White House directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to withdraw and reconsider a proposal to strengthen National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone, the primary ingredient in smog. The announcement marked the first time that the Obama Administration formally returned one of its own agencies proposals, and it could indicate heightened executive scrutiny of forthcoming rules economic impacts. The heart of the Clean Air Act, NAAQS set maximum levels for six “criteria” pollutants at levels necessary to protect public health and welfare, implemented through State Implementation Plans covering a broad range of sources. The ozone NAAQS were last revised in 2008, when the Bush Administration set a primary standard of .075 parts-per-million (“ppm”) — more lenient than the .06-.07 ppm range recommended by EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee.

2 tons of elephant ivory seized in Hong Kong
September 1, 2011 08:55 AM - Editor, MSNBC.com: Environment

Hong Kong customs officers have seized a large shipment of African ivory hidden in a container that arrived by sea from Malaysia. Hong Kong government officials said Tuesday that officers found 794 pieces of ivory tusks estimated to be worth $1.6 million.

Controversial Tar Sands Pipeline Moving Forward Despite Heavy Protest
August 31, 2011 10:06 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

The massive international pipeline, known as the Keystone XL pipeline, would connect Alberta, Canada's booming tar sands to refineries in Texas and the Gulf Coast. It would be the longest pipeline outside of Russia and China, and would carry North America's largest oil deposit to the market. The project has sparked protests from environmental groups because large areas of boreal forests would be destroyed and sensitive habitats would be affected. Also, protesters oppose the pipeline for reasons relating to global climate change and breaking our addiction to oil. The Keystone project has just passed a key hurdle by getting the go-ahead from the US State Department.

Is Gibson Guitars Unfairily Bullied or Have They Really Screwed Up... Again?
August 31, 2011 08:45 AM - Raz Godelnik, Triple Pundit

Last week, for the second time in two years, federal agents raided the facilities of Gibson Guitars, probably the most well-known guitar maker around the world. Although the two raids are the result of different cases, the accusations then and now are similar — violations of the Lacey Act, a law requiring that all wood products and plants imported into the U.S. come from legal sources. On November 2009, federal agents seized guitars and fingerboard blanks that were suspected to be produced from illegally harvested Madagascan rosewood and ebony. Last week the agents seized several pallets of wood, electronic files and guitars. From a Reuters report the latest raid is related to a shipment of sawn ebony logs from India that was imported by Gibson illegally, violating the Lacey Act.

Europe REACH
August 29, 2011 01:49 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

REACH is a European Union Regulation of December 2006. REACH addresses the production and use of chemical substances, and their potential impacts on both human health and the environment. Its 849 pages took seven years to pass, and it has been described as the most complex legislation in the Union's history and the most important in 20 years. It is the strictest law to date regulating chemical substances and will affect industries throughout the world. REACH entered into force in June 2007, with a phased implementation over the next decade. Five years after its adoption, the European Commission is preparing to review the controversial REACH regulation, which required chemical manufacturers to justify that their products are safe for consumers. It's a potential can of worms, according to EU officials. From the moment it was tabled until its eventual adoption in 2006, the REACH regulation gave rise to one of the most epic lobbying battles in the EU's history, pitting green campaigners against the chemicals industry.

Scientists call for better management of the deep sea
August 26, 2011 09:19 AM - Tamera Jones, Planet Earth Online

The deep sea is in trouble. A recent study has found that it's being damaged by human activities, and that this is only likely to get worse. Scientists are now calling for better management and conservation of entire deep-sea ecosystems.

Hybrid Midsize Sedan?
August 25, 2011 12:43 PM - Kathleen Neil, Contributing Editor, ENN

There seem to be a lot of people looking for a quality, affordable, and safe midsize sedan, but a hybrid midsize sedan? Mingling with everyone at the Toyota 2012 Camry event at Paramount Studios Hollywood yesterday I’d have to say, the mainstream car world just isn’t that concerned about how green their drive is at this point. The economy isn't helping, nor is the way most people are experiencing the modern electronic world as a bad case of button overload; and general interest in iconic brands like a Prius Hybrid or a Chevy Volt is limited. In the last two years my automotive interest has been focused on hybrids and electric vehicles. Yesterday in Hollywood I drove both the hybrid 2012 Camry and the non-hybrid 2012 Camry and I got to look more closely at the interface between the car most people are looking for and the dream of a greener driving world. The comparison was great fun. I admit I'm still more excited about the Plug-in Prius, which is now looking like it will be available starting around spring 2012 in 15 launch states: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington. Availability is planned to open up to all other states in 2013. Much of the innovation in the development of the Prius appears to be showing up in the 2012 Camry Hybrid

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