Environmental Policy

Are "improved" Cookstoves in Pakistan better than the traditional ones?
April 20, 2012 06:43 AM - Ashfaq Yusfzai and T. V. Padma, SciDevNet

Programmes to provide rural Pakistani households with so-called improved cookstoves have had a muted response due to a lack of awareness among target communities — particularly among the women who do the cooking, a study has found. The finding comes as separate research suggests that some improved cookstove models actually cause more pollution than traditional mud stoves. Traditional stoves — which run on biomass such as crop waste, dung and twigs — are known to cause indoor air pollution. Indoor and outdoor air pollution have been identified by the WHO has causing an estimated two million deaths each year.

Bike Nation to Make Four Thousand Bicycles Available For Use By Los Angeles Commuters and Visitors
April 19, 2012 08:41 AM - Andrea Oki, JDP

April 15, 2012 (Los Angeles, CA) — At the CicLAvia event in downtown Los Angeles today, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced plans for a bike sharing demonstration project in the City. In the spirit of Mayor Villaraigosa's invitation for "Angelenos to get out of their cars and on to the streets," Bike Nation, the only Southern California-based bike share company, plans to install 400 kiosks with a total of 4,000 bikes throughout the City of Los Angeles, with the first kiosks expected to be in operation during the fourth quarter of 2012. "Bike share programs have proven successful in urban areas around the world and in major cities in the United States," stated Navin Narang, Founder, Bike Nation. "We are excited to work with the City of Los Angeles to implement this demonstration project and provide healthy, low-cost transit options and connectivity between transit connections, business centers and regional destinations." The bicycle sharing demonstration will be a service in which bicycles are made available for public use and are checked-out and returned to self service kiosks. The usage fees for the bicycle share system are incentivized for turnover and trips of less than 30 minutes in duration. Bike Nation will create a system that is safe, efficient and dependable and will provide well-trained, supervised staff and maintenance crew to operate the system.

New Fracking Rules on Air
April 19, 2012 08:01 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

It has been suggested by researchers that there are significant air emissions (primarily methane) associated with fracking wells. As a result and in response to a court deadline, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized standards to reduce harmful air pollution associated with oil and natural gas production. The updated standards, required by the Clean Air Act, included feedback from a range of stakeholders including the public, public health groups, states and industry. As a result, the final standards reduce implementation costs while also ensuring they are achievable and can be met by relying on proven, cost-effective technologies as well as processes already in use at approximately half of the fractured natural gas wells in the United States. These technologies will not only reduce 95 percent of the harmful emissions from these wells that contribute to smog and lead to health impacts, they will also enable companies to collect additional natural gas that can be sold. Natural gas is a key component of the nation’s clean energy future and the standards released today make sure that we can continue to expand production of this important domestic resource while reducing impacts to public health, and most importantly builds on steps already being taken by industry leaders.

A Farm Grows in Brooklyn!
April 19, 2012 06:33 AM - Kara Scharwath, Triple Pundit

Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood will soon be home to a 100,000 square foot, multi-acre rooftop farm that will produce a million pounds of produce per year — enough to feed 5,000 people — without using any dirt. The farm will be built by BrightFarms, a new company with a unique business model that finances, builds, and operates hydroponic greenhouse farms for supermarkets and other retailers who purchase the produce. The Brooklyn farm will be located on top of an eight-story, 1.1 million square foot building that was built in 1916 as a Navy warehouse and is now part of the city’s plans to redevelop the Brooklyn industrial waterfront. Construction is slated to start in the fall with the first harvest of tomatoes, lettuces and herbs expected next spring. Company officials say that once the farm is built, it will be the largest of its kind in the world.

Climate change making conservation more costly
April 18, 2012 06:46 AM - Editor, ARKive.org

Climate change will make conserving the world’s biodiversity — including the human benefits associated with conservation, such as clean air and water — much more challenging and expensive, research reveals. According to a group of international researchers convened by Conservation International, climate change may in some cases drive up costs by more than 100%. Focussing on species and ecosystems in South Africa, Madagascar and California, the researchers present the first ever estimates of how much it will cost the global community to adapt conservation efforts to climate change, calling the studies a 'wake-up call'. The results of the research have been published as a series of three papers in the journal Conservation Biology, under the title 'Conservation Focus: Costs of Adapting Conservation to Climate Change'.

Tighter controls rejected on Pacific tuna fishing
April 17, 2012 12:43 PM - Bernadette Carreon

Pacific island nations and conservation groups have failed to persuade the body that oversees tuna fishing in the Pacific to introduce more stringent measures to protect tuna supply. Negotiations broke down at a meeting in Guam last month (March 26-30) of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), as Pacific island nations — backed by Australia — failed to reach agreement with the United States, European Union, China and Japan on ways to conserve big-eye tuna and protect other species.

Another Buffett Rule: No Shortcuts on the Environment
April 17, 2012 08:51 AM - Bill DiBenedetto, Triple Pundit

While the Senate attempts to deal with the so called Buffett Rule, which would force rich folks to pay taxes at least at the same rate as their secretaries, the rule's namesake, the billionaire investor Warren Buffett, has also spoken out on the environment in financial terms.

Greenland's ice cover appears to be sliding into the ocean
April 17, 2012 07:10 AM - Editor, ClickGreen

Like snow sliding off a roof on a sunny day, the Greenland Ice Sheet may be sliding faster into the ocean due to massive releases of meltwater from surface lakes, according to a new study by the University of Colorado Boulder-based Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences. Such lake drainages may affect sea-level rise, with implications for coastal communities, according to the researchers. "This is the first evidence that Greenland's 'supraglacial' lakes have responded to recent increases in surface meltwater production by draining more frequently, as opposed to growing in size," says CIRES research associate William Colgan, who co-led the new study with CU-Boulder computer science doctoral student Yu-Li Liang.

Europe announces huge green energy package for developing nations
April 16, 2012 04:11 PM - ClickGreen staff, ClickGreen

The European Commission has announced a new multi-million Euro initiative to support developing countries in their drive towards sustainable energy generation. The green aid programme will prove specialists from across Europe to help poorer nations develop low-carbon sources of energy. And the scheme will provide hundreds of millions of Euros to underwrite the roll-out, which has the goal of providing sustainable energy to 50 million people by 2030. Speaking at the EU Sustainable Energy For all Summit in Brussels today, José Manuel Durão Barroso, President of the European Commission, announced details of the plan. He said: "We have now clear scientific evidence that we need to embrace new ways of producing energy to avoid damaging global climate; we need to act upon this advice. The EU is therefore ready to help those countries that demonstrate such commitment, and to increase its efforts. To that end, I am delighted to announce today the launch of a new Commission initiative: Energising Development. Firstly, we will create a world-leading EU Technical Assistance Facility, initially in excess of 50 million euro over the next two years, to stand behind and support those countries that "opt in" to the initiative and commit to the necessary reforms. We will draw on the best EU experts in the field and promote the development and growth of expertise in developing countries themselves. I mentioned before that the Commission is already spending over 600 million euro per year in supporting energy; collectively EU Member States are spending even more than this, as we will no doubt hear later today. This is a strong base and, with our Agenda for Change and the mainstreaming of "green aid", we can confidently expect this figure to significantly increase from 2014 onwards, concentrating on sustainable and inclusive energy investments."

TSCA: E Filing as Opposed to Paper
April 16, 2012 08:19 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a proposed rule to require electronic reporting for certain information submitted to the agency under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). TSCA is a rule that requires chemicals to be registered and on new chemicals and some old ones there is mandatory reporting of hazards and toxicological tests. The action is an important milestone in the agency’s effort to increase transparency and public access to chemical information. Electronic reporting will increase the speed with which EPA can make information publicly available, increase accuracy, and provide the public with quick and easier access to chemical information.

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