Environmental Policy

Atlantic bluefin tuna put on U.S. environmental watchlist
May 28, 2011 07:54 AM - Deborah Zabarenko, Reuters, Environment Correspondent WASHINGTON

The U.S. government put the Atlantic bluefin tuna on an environmental watchlist as a "species of concern" on Friday, and will keep checking for any impact on these fish from the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. At this time, the species is not threatened or endangered and so will not be listed as such under the Endangered Species Act, which would trigger immediate protections, officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in a telephone briefing. Atlantic bluefin tuna spawn in the Gulf of Mexico in the vicinity of last year's BP Deepwater Horizon spill, but so far there is no evidence that the species is being harmed. "While the NOAA team found that presently available information did not support listing, it also recognized the need to continue to monitor the potential long-term effects of the spill on bluefin tuna and the overall Gulf ecosystem," Eric Schwaab, of NOAA's Fisheries Service, told reporters. The time period of the agency's peer-reviewed study did not allow for full consideration of the impact from the oil spill, Schwaab said.

Brazil Forms "Crisis Counsel" in Response to Dramatic Increase in Amazon Deforestation
May 27, 2011 11:09 AM - Thomas Schueneman, Global Warming is Real

Deforestation in the Amazon rainforest of Brazil has risen six-fold, according to recent satellite images from the National Institute for Space Research. Comparing data from March-April 2010 to the same period this year shows deforestation has increased from 103 square kilometers in 2010 to 593 square kilometers just one year later. Most of that deforestation is in the state of Mato Grasso, a center of agribusiness and the largest producer of soybeans in Brazil, contributing 27 percent of the country's last soybean harvest. According to Brazil's Agriculture Ministry, soy output will increase 7.2 percent to 73.7 million tons.

Wind in 2011
May 27, 2011 11:00 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

Some people like the concept of wind/renewable power. There are some who do not. Nevertheless society needs energy to run its desired lifestyle. So how are we in 2011 so far? The AWEA (American Wind Energy Association) indicated that the first quarter of 2011 saw over 1,100 megawatts (MW) of wind power capacity installed -- more than double the capacity installed in the first quarter of 2010. The U.S. wind industry had 40,181 MW of wind power capacity installed at the end of 2010, with 5,116 MW installed in 2010 alone. The U.S. wind industry has added over 35% of all new generating capacity over the past 4 years, second only to natural gas, and more than nuclear and coal combined. Today, U.S. wind power capacity represents more than 20% of the world’s installed wind power. Today, the U.S. wind industry represents not only a large market for wind power capacity installations, but also a growing market for American manufacturing. Over 400 manufacturing facilities across the U.S. make components for wind turbines, and dedicated wind facilities that manufacture major components such as towers, blades and assembled nacelles can be found in every region.

Fuel Economy Labels by EPA
May 26, 2011 01:15 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

What car is better at least in terms of fuel use, costs and environmental benefits. The decision will never be simple. The U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have released new fuel economy labels that will help consumers take advantage of the increased efficiency standards achieved under the Obama Administration. The new labels, which are the most dramatic overhaul to fuel economy labels since the program began more than 30 years ago, will provide more comprehensive fuel efficiency information, including estimated annual fuel costs, savings, as well as information on each vehicle’s environmental impact. These improvements will give consumers better, more complete information to consider when purchasing new vehicles that are covered by the increased fuel economy standards. Starting with model year 2013, the improved fuel economy labels will be required to be affixed to all new passenger cars and trucks — both conventional gasoline powered and “next generation” cars, such as plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles

On the edge of extinction, Philippine eagles being picked off one-by-one
May 26, 2011 08:40 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM

Down to a few hundred individuals, every Philippine eagle is important if the species is to survive. However, the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) has recently announced that people continue to illegally trap and keep eagles captive. Since December the organization has taken in four confiscated Philippine eagles (Pithecophaga jefferyi), according to The Philippine Star. One died of a fungal infection after confiscation, while two others have suffered serious injuries.

Waste Heat Recovery: The Next Wave of Clean Tech
May 24, 2011 03:32 PM - Jason Gold, CEO, KGRA Energy, LP

The terms renewable energy and clean technology conjure up images of photovoltaic panels baking in the desert sun, wind turbines rotating lazily in the wind, and large dams generating hydro-power. However, there is another important and growing clean energy technology that the average consumer hasn't heard of yet: waste heat recovery. Waste heat recovery employs a process that has been around since the 1960s called the organic Rankine cycle (ORC), which easily integrates into existing manufacturing infrastructures. ORC units capture heat that is currently being released into the atmosphere and converts it into useable CO2-free electricity. This technology has a small footprint, approximately the size of a tractor trailer flatbed and interest in systems that use this energy generating skid is on the rise as companies look to maximize the efficiency of existing investments and infrastructures. The market for waste heat recovery is virtually limitless. According to researchers at University California Berkley, the U.S. currently consumes about 100 quadrillion BTUs of energy per year. However, between 55 and 60 quadrillion BTUs are currently vented into the atmosphere as waste heat. With ORC technology these emissions are harnessed on-site to generate useable CO2-free electricity that is fed directly back into a manufacturing process. Pulp and paper, lumber, refinery, cement and power plant operations are especially well-suited for waste heat recovery systems since they consume large amounts of electricity and maintain consistent waste heat streams with temperatures between 400° and 800°F.

Namibia Wildlife Conservation
May 23, 2011 09:10 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

Namibia is a country in southern Africa which borders the Atlantic Ocean, just north of the nation of South Africa. The nation was a German Imperial protectorate from 1884 to the end of World War I, when the League of Nations gave South Africa the ruling authority. After a long struggle, Namibia achieved independence in 1990. This is a typical story for many south African nations, but what sets Namibia apart is its outstanding wildlife conservation programs. Using a community-based system, it has maintained a healthy native ecosystem which has seen sharp increases in its key wildlife populations.

Egypt faces 'environmental crisis' following ousting of Mubarak
May 19, 2011 08:15 AM - Joseph Mayton, Ecologist

The political future of the Arab world's largest country could look brighter following the recent uprising in Tahrir Square and beyond. But the country faces an ecological catastrophe - much of it tourism related - reports Joseph Mayton from Cairo.

Feral Camels Plague Australian Outback
May 18, 2011 09:39 AM - Jessica Marshall, Discovery News

More than 1 million feral camels are thrashing the remote Australian desert, destroying water supplies and disturbing Aboriginal communities to the tune of 10 million Australian dollars a year.

In the News: British butterflies bounce back
May 17, 2011 08:16 AM - Liz Shaw, ARKive.org

Some of Britain's most threatened butterflies are showing promising signs of recovery after decades of decline, according to a new study. The new data comes from the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme, which has been monitoring changes in butterfly populations across the United Kingdom since 1976. The biggest winner of 2010 was the wood white, which has suffered a 96% decline since the 1970s, but whose population increased six-fold last year.

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