Environmental Policy

Global aviation sector commits to support a sustainable future
March 22, 2012 09:48 AM - ClickGreen staff, ClickGreen

Leaders of the aviation industry have sent a reminder to governments of the vital role the sector plays in economic growth, providing jobs whilst taking its environmental responsibilities seriously. At a meeting in Geneva today, chief executives and directors from 16 global aviation companies and organisations signed the Aviation & Environment Summit's Declaration as a joint message to world governments due to meet at Rio de Janeiro for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in June. The industry leaders, representing airports, airlines, air navigation service providers and the makers of aircraft and engines, signed the declaration in a show of unity on the issue of sustainable development. Paul Steele, Executive Director of the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG), the organisation coordinating the Summit, said that the declaration shows that aviation takes its role in sustainable development seriously. "Sustainable development — and the Rio+20 process — is about finding ways to balance the needs of growing economies and higher standards of living across society with the need to more carefully manage the resources we are using and the impact that we have on the world. I am pleased to say that aviation is committed to doing just that. In 2008, we were the first global sector to commit to global cross-industry action on climate change. That declaration set the agenda for cooperative action across the aviation industry to reduce fuel use and emissions. The cooperation between industry partners and the projects underway are impressive."

Climate Leadership Continues in the European Union
March 21, 2012 10:44 AM - Akhila Vijayaraghavan, Triple Pundit

The European Union might be going through a lot of financial turmoil at the moment, however they are still leading the way when it comes to environmental policy. Their carbon targets have consistently been higher than any other country in the world and they have also actually met and exceeded them. At the Durban Climate Summit last year, the EU environment ministers were noted for their progressive and constructive role they played in coming up with a new international agreement. The EU strategy has always been to lead with vision and to generate economic and environmental benefits. Since the EU has set binding emissions and renewable energy targets, many countries have followed suit.

Native Wildflowers are good for bees and biodiversity!
March 21, 2012 07:00 AM - Hazel Sillver, The Ecologist

Filling your garden with wildflowers helps honeybees and butterflies, and creates a relaxed mood. And, from the Easton Walled Garden to Sissinghurst, there's plenty of inspiration Many of the wildflower areas that provide food for pollinating insects (such as honeybees and butterflies) have shrunk over the past few decades. So far, we have lost 97 per cent of lowland semi-natural grassland, 20 per cent of chalk grassland and thousands of miles of hedgerow. This is the effect of intensive agriculture and, in urban areas, an obsession with neatness.

Monarch Butterfly decline linked to genetically modified crops
March 20, 2012 06:37 AM - Yale Environment 360 and the Star Tribune

A new study suggests that the increased use of genetically modified (GM) crops across the Midwestern U.S. may be causing a decline in monarch butterfly populations. From 1999 to 2010, a period when GM crops became more common on U.S. farms, the number of monarch eggs in the Midwest declined by 81 percent, according to researchers from the University of Minnesota and Iowa State University. The reason, according to the study, is the near-disappearance of milkweed, an important host plant for monarch eggs and caterpillars. The researchers attribute sharp declines in milkweed to widespread use of genetically modified corn and soybeans that are resistant to the herbicide, Roundup, which is then sprayed on fields, killing milkweed.

Northampton Massachusetts Struggles With Coca-Cola’s Waste
March 19, 2012 06:54 AM - Leon Kaye, Triple Pundit

Northampton, a town of 29,000 people in Western Massachusetts, is home to a Coca-Cola plant that churns out several of Coke’s fruit juice lines. And that plant is also churning out wastewater that is becoming to expensive for Northampton’s wastewater treatment facility to process. Rising costs and the possibility of tensions increasing between a city and one of its largest employers is an example of how municipalities end up fronting and subsidizing the costs of a large company’s operations.

Two Affiliates to sever ties with paper company linked to endangered forests
March 18, 2012 08:14 AM - Rhett Butler, MONGABAY.COM

Two affiliates of Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) have announced they are severing at least some ties with the beleaguered paper giant, according to the Northern Virginia Daily and Greenpeace, an environmental group whose recent undercover investigation found ramin, a protected species, at APP's pulp mill in Sumatra. Oasis Brands, a firm that handles sales, marketing, and contracting for Virginia-based Mercury Paper Inc., said it will "dissolve" ties to APP "in response to company goals and customer demand for sustainability assurance". Mercury Paper had been under fire for sourcing fiber from APP, which environmentalists have shown continues to produce pulp and paper from endangered natural forests in Indonesia. APP has been the only supplier for Mercury Paper and California-based Solaris Paper Inc.

Lyme Disease predicted to surge this year in Northeast US
March 17, 2012 08:07 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

Lyme disease is becoming more common in the Northeastern US, and is spreading more broadly across the eastern US. Commonly thought to be spread by Whitetail deer since is is carried by deer ticks, it is actually carried as well by field mice, chipmunks, and other small mammals. A new study suggests that the northeastern U.S. should prepare for a surge in Lyme disease this spring. And we can blame fluctuations in acorns and mouse populations, not the mild winter. So reports Dr. Richard S. Ostfeld, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, NY.

Europe steps up challenge over China's rare metal restrictions
March 14, 2012 10:50 AM - Click Green Staff, ClickGreen

The European Union today launched a second challenge of China's export restrictions on raw materials including 17 rare earths, as well as tungsten and molybdenum, that are critical in the development of green technology. Together with the US and Japan, the EU formally requested dispute settlement consultations with China in the World Trade Organization (WTO). This follows a successful EU challenge at the WTO on similar restrictions for other raw materials earlier this year. "China's restrictions on rare earths and other products violate international trade rules and must be removed. These measures hurt our producers and consumers in the EU and across the world, including manufacturers of pioneering hi-tech and green business applications" said EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht.

Edinburgh named home city for Green Investment Bank HQ
March 13, 2012 10:11 AM - ClickGreen staff, ClickGreen

Edinburgh has won the competition to be the home city of the headquarters of the world's first Green Investment Bank, the UK Government confirmed today. The Scottish capital beat off 31 rival bids to be announced the HQ location, with the GIB's main transaction team based in London. Business Secretary Vince Cable said locating the bank across the two cities will enable the GIB to become a world leader, playing to the strengths of both capitals. He added: "Harnessing the strengths of Edinburgh and London will support the Green Investment Bank's ambition to become a world leader. Edinburgh has a thriving green sector and respected expertise in areas such as asset management. London, as the world's leading financial centre, will ensure that the GIB's transaction team can hit the ground running. This decision will allow the GIB to operate effectively and achieve its mission of mobilising the additional investment needed to accelerate the UK's transition to a green economy." Scottish Secretary Michael Moore welcomed the news, and added: "I am delighted that the Green Investment Bank will be headquartered in Edinburgh. Scotland has enormous green energy potential and its capital is the UK's second biggest financial centre. The size and scale of the UK's single energy market ensures the level of investment that will unlock Scotland's renewables future, providing sustainable and affordable green energy across the UK. It makes perfect sense to have a GIB presence there."

Brazil's Growth Offers Wealth and Worry in The Northeast
March 13, 2012 09:57 AM - Leon Kaye, Triple Pundit

Two years ago I predicted this would be the Brazilian Decade, and so far Brazil's stunning success has proven me correct. It is not just about the large international events like the World Cup and Olympics that are on the calendar in 2014 and 2016. Brazil has become a creditor nation; once a net food importer, it now feeds much of the world; and recently it surpassed the United Kingdom to become the world's sixth largest economy. For decades much of the growth was centered around São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, then stretched south towards the border with Uruguay. Industries such as aircraft, petrochemicals and automobiles anchored Latin America's largest economy. But now Brazil's economic might has extended to regions of the country that had long underperformed compared to the wealthy south.

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