Environmental Policy

China's CO2 emissions rise sharply
June 9, 2011 06:33 AM - Nina Chestney, Reuters, LONDON

China's carbon dioxide emissions rose 10.4 percent in 2010 compared with the previous year, as global emissions rose at their fastest rate for more than four decades, data released by BP on Wednesday showed. "All forms of energy grew strongly (last year), with growth in fossil fuels suggesting that global CO2 emissions from energy use grew at the fastest rate since 1969," energy major BP's annual Statistical Review of World Energy said. The rapid growth is happening as U.N. talks look unlikely to agree on a legally binding deal to curb emissions and fight climate change before the existing Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012. Global carbon dioxide emissions are widely seen as a major factor responsible for an increase in world temperatures. They grew 5.8 percent last year to 33.16 billion tonnes, as countries rebounded from economic recession, BP said. China's emissions accounted for 8.33 billion tonnes.

World Oceans Day is today, June 8th
June 8, 2011 07:05 AM - Editor, ENN, ARKive.org

The 8th of June is World Oceans Day, our annual chance to celebrate all things marine! Coordinated by The Ocean Project and The World Ocean Network, World Oceans Day encourages us to consider everything that the oceans provide us with — from oxygen to climate regulation, food to pharmaceuticals and of course, the breath taking beauty of this underwater wonderland. By raising awareness of the resources that the oceans provide, World Oceans Day hopes to encourage us to do our bit to protect this valuable environment, especially in these challenging times when factors like climate change, plastic waste, over-fishing and environmental disasters such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill all threaten to damage our oceans beyond repair.

MIT Study calculates cost of lax air pollution regulations in China
June 6, 2011 03:58 PM - Roger Greenway, ENN, based on materials provided by MIT

A new study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change looks at the cost to the Chinese economy of lax air quality regulations between 1975 and 2005. The MIT researchers found that air pollutants produced a substantial socio-economic cost to China over the past three decades. China has experienced unprecedented development over the past three decades, but this growth has come at a substantial cost to the country's environment and public health. China is notorious for extremely high levels of air pollution. As the country faces continuous environmental challenges that mirror its continuing development, there is a need to measure the health impacts of air pollution. What makes this study unique is that researchers looked at long-term economic impacts that arise from health damages, and how pollution-induced morbidity and mortality cases may have had ripple effects on the Chinese economy beyond the time period when those cases actually occurred. This method creates a comprehensive picture of the cumulative impacts of air pollution on a dynamic, fast-developing country.

New Jersey to Withdraw from Climate Change Initiative
June 3, 2011 09:04 AM - Jessica Albin, Sive Paget & Riesel, P.C.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced Thursday, May 26 that New Jersey would withdraw from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative ("RGG"), a cap-and-trade initiative of 10 northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector. New Jersey is the first state to withdraw from RGGI.

World Environment Day
June 2, 2011 01:31 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

World Environment Day is a day that is supposed to stimulate awareness of the environment and enhance political attention and public action. The official day is June 5. This was the day that the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment began. The first World Environment Day was on 1973. The theme this year is Forests-Nature At Your Service. Forests cover one third of the earth’s land mass, performing vital functions and services around the world which make our planet alive with possibilities. In fact, 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihoods. They play a key role in the world ecology, releasing oxygen into the atmosphere while storing carbon dioxide. Thousands of activities are typically organized worldwide, with beach clean-ups, concerts, exhibits, film festivals, community events and much more. Each year there is a different host city. For 2011 it is New Delhi, India.

Amazon mega-dam gets final approval
June 2, 2011 08:43 AM - Editor, MONGABAY.COM

Brazilian authorities gave final approval to the controversial Belo Monte dam, reports AFP. The project — which has been widely opposed by human rights groups, environmentalists, and indigenous tribes — will dam the Xingu river, one of the largest tributaries of the Amazon River.

"The Garden of Eden Had Been Turned Into The Ashes of Hell"- Azzam Alwash On The Destruction Of The Marshlands of Iraq
June 1, 2011 01:00 PM - Arwa Aburawa, Green Prophet

The United Nations environmental program described Saddam's destruction of the Mesopotamian Marshlands as the worst engineered environmental disaster of the last century. Thousands of Marsh Arabs were killed, their reed huts were burnt down and water sources were poisoned to drive them out until half a million of Marsh Arabs were displaced either into Iran or North Iraq. Once considered to be the largest wetland ecosystem in the Middle East, the Marshlands shrunk to just 10 percent of their original size.

Photos: Cambodians rally as 'Avatars' to save one of the region's last great rainforests
June 1, 2011 08:40 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM

Two hundred Cambodians rallied in Phnom Penh last week to protest the widespread destruction of one of Southeast Asia's last intact lowland rainforests, known as Prey Lang. In an effort to gain wider media attention, protestors donned dress and make-up inspired by the James Cameron film, Avatar, which depicts the destruction of a forest and its inhabitants on an alien world. The idea worked as the rally received international attention from Reuters, CNN (i-report), MSNBC, and NPR, among other media outlets. Located between the Mekong and Stung Sen River, nearly half of Prey Lang has never been logged, making it an incredible rarity in Southeast Asia, whose forests, according to Conservation International (CI), are the world's most imperiled.

Germany's plan to shut down its nuclear plants will add 40 million tons of CO2 per year
June 1, 2011 07:10 AM - Nina Chestney and Jackie Cowhig, Reuters, LONDON

Germany's plan to shut all its nuclear power plants by 2022 will add up to 40 million tones of carbon dioxide emissions annually as the country turns to fossil fuels, analysts said on Tuesday. The extra emissions would increase demand for carbon permits under the European Union's trading scheme, thereby adding a little to carbon prices and pollution costs for EU industry. "We will see a pick-up in German coal burn," said Barclays Capital analyst Amrita Sen. "Longer term, they will be using more renewables and gas but this year and next, we should see a lot of support for coal burn." The phase-out is seen as more political than technical as German Chancellor Angela Merkel tries to capture anti-nuclear sentiment in the aftermath of Japan's Fukushima crisis. Environmentalists welcomed the shift, although some demanded a faster phase-out, hoping it would spur a shift to renewable energy which they view as less harmful by avoiding radioactive waste.

Can OnStar Help Chevy Sell the Volt and Utilities Manage the Load?
May 29, 2011 09:29 AM - Matthew Madden , Triple Pundit

Can the combination of electric vehicles and software services return General Motors to relevance? Two decades after the introduction of the EV1, not to mention the subsequent controversy created by its cancelation — well documented by the film that became an underground sensation Who Killed the Electric Car? — the Chevrolet Volt is General Motors' latest entrant into the electric vehicle market. While the Volt may get the bulk of the press, the software services that support the automobile may be the business that allows General Motors to compete in the next generation of automotive innovation. OnStar, a subsidiary of General Motors, has garnered success by providing communications and mobility services, security, remote diagnostics and navigation by subscription to drivers of General Motors’ vehicles. The trend towards software-enabled functionality has been guiding automotive development in recent years but the imminent adoption of electric vehicles necessitates the advancement of this functionality. OnStar, and by extension General Motors, may be well positioned to capitalize on this emerging market.

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