Environmental Policy

New Global forum to collate research on sustainable consumption, production
June 14, 2012 07:11 AM - T. V. Padma, SciDevNet

A new global forum, meeting for the first time this week (13—15 June), will gather scattered research on sustainable consumption and production from countries across the world, as well as from journals, reports and grey literature, to consolidate existing findings and discuss the agenda for future research. The Global Research Forum on Sustainable Consumption and Production also hopes to forge new research partnerships to help tackle difficult issues relating to consumption and production. "There's a lot of science, technology and innovation to be researched on sustainable production and consumption," said Philip Vergragt, professor emeritus of technology assessment at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.

5 Most At-Risk Rivers in the World
June 12, 2012 04:18 PM - Aniya Wells, ENN Guest Contributor

It is often said that life began on a river bed. It's no surprise that, still today, the world's rivers make up some of the most fundamental sources of fresh water and habitats for life of all kinds. Unfortunately, some of the largest and most highly-needed rivers are under attack from environmental threats that have already caused potentially fatal disruption. That's why the WWF, World Wide Fund for Nature, compiled a list of some of the most threatened rivers in the world. Based on the results of international assessments, the WWF based their list on six of the most significant threats to rivers: dams and infrastructure, excessive water extraction, climate change, invasive species, over-fishing, and pollution. They singled out rivers that are either already suffering the most as a result of any or all of these threats or are in line to be heavily impacted: 1. Salween — Nu The Salween river basin is the second largest in Southeast Asia and runs, starting along the Southwest edge of China, from the northern edge of India, past Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand, eventually spilling into the Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean. According to the WWF, 6 million people depend on the Salween to make a living and find sources of protein and nutrient rich food...

Israel's Secret Project: Super-Battery To Reduce World's Oil Thirst
June 12, 2012 03:57 PM - Alexandra Mann, NoCamels

Quietly and with little media coverage, it seems that Israel has made it its national goal to develop a battery that can provide enough power for a 500 kilometer-drive with a single charge.

Global Warming over last 50 yrs caused primarily by human activity
June 12, 2012 07:11 AM - ScienceDaily

The oceans have warmed in the past 50 years, but not by natural events alone. New research by a team of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists and international collaborators shows that the observed ocean warming over the last 50 years is consistent with climate models only if the models include the impacts of observed increases in greenhouse gas during the 20th century. Though the new research is not the first study to identify a human influence on observed ocean warming, it is the first to provide an in-depth examination of how observational and modeling uncertainties impact the conclusion that humans are primarily responsible.

Increase in Groundwater Use and Sea-Level Rise
June 10, 2012 09:04 AM - Richard Lovett for National Geogrpahic

As aquifers are pumped out around the world, the water ultimately makes it to the oceans. Groundwater depletion will soon be as important a factor in contributing to sea-level rise as the melting of glaciers other than those in Greenland and Antarctica, scientists say. That's because water pumped out of the ground for irrigation, industrial uses, and even drinking must go somewhere after it's used—and, whether it runs directly into streams and rivers or evaporates and falls elsewhere as rain, one likely place for it to end up is the ocean. To find out how much of an effect this has on sea level, a team of Dutch scientists led by hydrologist Yoshihide Wada, a Ph.D. researcher at Utrecht University, divided the Earth's land surface into 31-by-31-mile (50-by-50 kilometer) squares on a grid to calculate present and future groundwater usage.

Open Ocean protection and Rio+20
June 9, 2012 08:37 AM - Prime Sarmiento, SciDevNet

Promises made at previous summits have not delivered enough protection for the oceans — campaigners are pushing for better results from Rio+20, writes Prime Sarmiento. This month, scientists, campaigners and many developing nations are optimistic they will set in motion a deal on the conservation of the high seas at Rio+20 (UN Conference on Sustainable Development) in Brazil. They argue that the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), agreed 30 years ago, does not address the welfare of the vast areas of ocean that are 'beyond national jurisdiction'.

Biofuels Viability
June 8, 2012 12:21 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

What is green? What is a viable economic alternative? What is reasonable and will do more bad than good? Welcome to Biofuels. Two scientists are challenging the currently accepted norms of biofuel production. A commentary published today in GCB Bioenergy reveals that calculations of greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions from bioenergy production are neglecting crucial information that has led to the overestimation of the benefits of biofuels compared to fossil fuels.

40 Eco-Apps that Put Technology to Work for the Environment
June 8, 2012 10:41 AM - Richard Matthews, Global Warming is Real

Technology may not be a panacea to solve the climate crisis, but green applications (eco-apps) are helping to drive awareness and foster responsible action. There was a time when eco-apps did little more than provide lists of so-called "green" products and services. Now green-themed apps have turned mobile devices into portals for environmental education and sustainable action. The smartphone market share is now estimated to be more than 40 percent in the U.S. Around the world, smartphones are proliferating and green apps are growing along with them. Eco-apps can help people be more efficient and reduce their energy consumption. There are a wide variety of energy apps including those that monitor efficiency and consumption. Apps help with things like recycling and other aspects of green living. Mobile and tablet based smart energy applications help consumers to optimize their energy and water consumption, monitor their appliances, water heater and other electronics. These apps can also monitor and operate HVAC, grey water (from rain), automated windows (shutters and blinds) and lighting systems. They can even provide information about renewable energy conversion and variable price grid management.

US bucks global trend of closing down nuclear power stations
June 8, 2012 10:31 AM - ClickGreen staff, ClickGreen

Official figures show Europe expects to decommission almost 150 of its nuclear power plants by 2030, while the US has granted life extensions to 71 and chosen to close only five, according to a report by energy experts GlobalData. The new report shows that the figure for Europe accounts for nearly 69% of the total global number of expected nuclear power reactor closures by 2030, the largest amount for any region. Barring any changes, the European commercial nuclear decommissioning market value stands at $81,484m.

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.

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