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.
IPCC predicts rise in extreme climate events
March 28, 2012 10:30 AM - T.V. Padma, SciDevNet
Climate change could mean unusually high temperatures occurring much more often in most parts of the world by the end of the century, according to a special report on extreme weather events from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). "A hottest day that occurs once in 20 years is likely to become a one-in-two year event, except in the high latitudes of the northern hemisphere, where it is likely to be one-in-five years," according to Sonia Seneviratne, a climate expert at ETH Zurich, which is part of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. Seneviratne was speaking at the Planet Under Pressure conference, which is being held in London this week (26—29 March). She was a member of an IPCC group set up in 2009 to compile the Special report on managing the risks of extreme events and disasters to advance climate change adaptation (SREX), which was published today (28 March). Contributors to the report include experts on disaster recovery and risk management, together with members of the physical sciences and climate change mitigation and adaptation disciplines. The report marks the first time that the scientific literature on extreme events has been synthesised by a single team, Seneviratne told the conference. It assesses observations and predicts changes in temperature extremes, heavy rainfall and drought for 26 regions. According to the IPCC, it offers "an unprecedented level of detail regarding observed and expected changes in weather and climate extremes, based on a comprehensive assessment of over 1,000 scientific publications."
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.
GM Investing in Car-Sharing
March 27, 2012 06:40 AM - Raz Godelnik, Triple Pundit
Corporate America is joining the access economy. You can already see signs of this trend with companies like Hertz, BMW, Ford and GM partnering with collaborative consumption companies, or even start a sharing service of their own. BMW, as we learned at SXSW has partnered ParkAtMyHouse.com, Ford partners with Zipcar, Hertz started its own car sharing service — Hertz on Demand, and GM has invested in RelayRides. It’s interesting to see the growing level of interest of large corporations in the sharing space, which sometimes seems to be at odds with the economic model their sales are based on. Take for example the case of GM.
London to ban old black cabs!
March 26, 2012 06:44 AM - Staff, ClickGreen
London's taxi regulators are to withdraw 2,600 ageing black cabs in an attempt to reduce air pollution in the capital. No black cab over 15-years-old will be licensed by the Taxi and Private Hire Office — taking off the road 2,600 taxis this year. Now Mercedes-Benz has launched an initiative to help London cabbies keep the city moving and at the same time delivering cleaner air.
Man, not climate change, linked to extinctions in Australia
March 24, 2012 08:10 AM - Yale 360 and Scientific American
The disappearance roughly 40,000 years ago of dozens of large mammals in Australia — including rhinoceros-sized wombats and tapir-like marsupials — was caused by human hunting and not by climate change, according to a new study by Australian scientists. Researchers at the University of Tasmania reached that conclusion after analyzing two mud core samples dating back as far as 130,000 years. By examining the cores for the Sporomiella fungus — which only releases its spores when in the dung of plant-eating animals — the scientists concluded that megafauna survived periods of climate change over the last 100,000 years. But when humans arrived in sizeable numbers, the presence of the spores dropped "almost to zero" around 41,000 years ago, indicating that hunting was the main reason for the extinction of these large animals, according to the paper, published in Science.