Environmental Policy

Maldivian move to marine energy
August 5, 2011 08:53 AM - Haveeruonline, SciDevNet

Scotland will help the Maldives in developing the country's huge potential in renewable marine energy. A study of the archipelagic country's wave, tidal and ocean thermal energy will be conducted by Scotland's Robert Gordon University to establish the potential before adaptations are made.

Deloitte and the CDP collaborate to help companies addressing water challanges
August 3, 2011 08:13 AM - Raz Godelnik, Triple Pundit

A growing number of companies understand the growing importance of water issues and are trying to figure out how address them effectively. They may find help in a new partnership that was announced on Monday between Deloitte and the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) to drive CDP water disclosure and help companies to better cope with water challenges.

Turning the tables: Attack Survivors Help Sharks
August 2, 2011 09:24 AM - Christina Reed, Discovery News

Summer is anniversary time for many shark attack survivors, including myself. This time of year, we mark the terrifying moments of struggle in the jaws of the ocean's top predator. We recall the ordeals of surgery and rehabilitation. And some of us are lucky enough to reflect on how much worse it could have been. I am mostly healed from a severed Achilles tendon. Many of my survivor friends also have recovered or learned to live without an arm or leg.

Union Pacific train carrying hazardous materials derails in California
July 28, 2011 06:43 AM - Alex Dobuzinskis, Reuters, LOS ANGELES

A Union Pacific freight train carrying more than 60 cars, some loaded with hazardous substances, derailed on Friday in a desert town north of Los Angeles, prompting evacuations of nearby homes, fire officials said. However, there was no sign of fire, and no injury or damage to surrounding buildings was reported. About 30 of the train's 63 cars left the tracks, many of them overturning, at 1:25 p.m. local time in the rural community of Littlerock, Los Angeles County Fire Department Inspector Matt Levesque said. Littlerock is about 35 miles northeast of Los Angeles.

The World at 7 Billion: Can We Stop Growing Now?
July 25, 2011 05:43 PM - Robert Engelman, Worldwatch Institute

Demographers aren't known for their sense of humor, but the ones who work for the United Nations recently announced that the world's human population will hit 7 billion on Halloween this year. Since censuses and other surveys can scarcely justify such a precise calculation, it's tempting to imagine that the UN Population Division, the data shop that pinpointed the Day of 7 Billion, is hinting that we should all be afraid, be very afraid. We have reason to be. The 21st century is not yet a dozen years old, and there are already 1 billion more people than in October 1999 — with the outlook for future energy and food supplies looking bleaker than it has for decades. It took humanity until the early 19th century to gain its first billion people; then another 1.5 billion followed over the next century and a half. In just the last 60 years the world’s population has gained yet another 4.5 billion. Never before have so many animals of one species anything like our size inhabited the planet.

The Most Efficient Energy Star
July 15, 2011 10:15 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

Energy Star is an international standard for energy efficient consumer products originated in the United States of America. It was first created as a United States government program during the early 1990s, but Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Taiwan and the European Union have also adopted the program. Devices carrying the Energy Star logo, such as computer products and peripherals, kitchen appliances, buildings and other products, generally use 20%—30% less energy than required by federal standards. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Energy announced July 14 for the first time products recognized as the most energy-efficient in their categories among those that have earned the Energy Star label. This pilot program is part of Energy Star’s overall commitment to protect people’s health and the environment by encouraging energy efficiency. The Most Efficient initiative also continues Energy Star’s work to provide consumers with the best efficiency information so they can make investments that will lower their energy bills and environmental impact. The new designation of Most Efficient aims to provide all manufacturers with an incentive for greater product energy efficiency while providing consumers new information about the products that comprise the top tier in the categories.

Proposed changes to Brazil's Forest Code could hurt economy
July 14, 2011 09:02 AM - Rhett Butler, MONGABAY.COM

Proposed changes to Brazil's Forest Code will hurt Brazilian agriculture, argues a leading conservationist. Carlos Alberto de Mattos Scaramuzza, WWF-Brazil's director for conservation, says the reform bill currently being evaluated by Brazil's Senate could have unexpected economic implications for Brazilian ranchers and farmers. Scaramuzza says a bill that grant amnesty for illegal deforesters and sanctions expanded destruction of the Amazon rainforest would make Brazilian agricultural products less attractive in foreign markets.

Carbon Tax? Australians want snap election to voice their opinions
July 13, 2011 06:31 AM - Rob Taylor, Reuters, CANBERRA

Two thirds of Australians want a snap election on the government's controversial plan to tax carbon pollution, a poll showed on Wednesday, as Prime Minister Julia Gillard crosses the nation in a campaign-style blitz to sell the scheme. The plan will be put to the vote in parliament around October and is almost certain to pass, but a rebuff would seriously threaten Gillard's minority government. The government, which does not have to call elections until 2013, has announced big fines for firms trying to overcharge consumers because of the tax, set to start next July and switch to carbon emissions trading in mid-2015.

In the News: Pig-nosed turtle populations in decline
July 12, 2011 08:49 AM - Helen Roddis, ARKive.org

A unique reptile, the pig-nosed turtle has become an international conservation icon due to its unusual evolutionary history, morphology, ecology and behaviour. The sole survivor of a once widespread family of turtles called the Carettochelyidae, the pig-nosed turtle has a restricted global distribution, being only found in north Australia and New Guinea Island. However, despite its uniqueness, this species is highly prized as food, and the demand for its eggs and meat in Papua New Guinea has led to the species being dramatically over-harvested by indigenous people. Both turtle and eggs are collected for trade or consumption by local villagers.

Power Generation from Renewables Surpasses Nuclear
July 8, 2011 07:58 AM - Thomas Schueneman, Global Warming is Real

The latest issue of the Monthly Energy Review published by the US Energy Information Administration, electric power generation from renewable sources has surpassed production from nuclear sources, and is now "closing in on oil," says Ken Bossong Executive Director of the Sun Day Campaign. In the first quarter of 2011 renewable energy sources accounted for 11.73 percent of US domestic energy production. Renewable sources include solar, wind, geothermal, hydro, biomass/biofuel. As of the first quarter of 2011, energy production from these sources was 5.65 percent more than production from nuclear. As Bossing further explains from the report, renewable sources are closing the gap with generation from oil-fired sources, with renewable source equal to 77.15 percent of total oil based generation.

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