Environmental Policy

Finland forest protected: 80,000 hectares of green cover rescued from industrial logging
December 15, 2010 08:25 AM - Ashley Hobbs, MONGABAY.COM

Metsahallitus, a forest enterprise controlled by the Finnish government, have agreed to preserve 80 percent of 107,000 hectares of pine forests in northern Finland. The area, which serves as a grazing land for the reindeer, includes tracts of old growth forest.

Rabbits named Britain's most costly invasive species
December 15, 2010 08:17 AM - James Meikle, Ecologist

They were introduced to Britain by the Romans, are hated as pests and celebrated in children's books. Britain's estimated 40 million rabbits cost the economy more than £260m a year including damage to crops, businesses and infrastructure, a report says today.

Tidal Power
December 14, 2010 02:16 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Tidal power, also called tidal energy, is a form of hydropower that converts the energy of tides into electricity or other useful forms of power. The first large-scale tidal power plant (the Rance Tidal Power Station) started operation in 1966. Harnessing the power of ocean tides has long been imagined, but countries are only now putting it into practice. A demonstration project planned for Puget Sound will be the first tidal energy project on the west coast of the United States, and the first array of large-scale turbines to feed power from ocean tides into an electrical grid. University of Washington researchers are devising ways to site the tidal turbines and measure their environmental effects. Brian Polagye, UW research assistant professor of mechanical engineering, will present recent findings this week in an invited talk at the American Geophysical Union's annual meeting in San Francisco.

EPA and Bed Bugs
December 10, 2010 04:16 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Bedbugs or bed bugs are small parasitic insects of the family Cimicidae. The term usually refers to species that prefer to feed on human blood. All insects in this family live by feeding exclusively on the blood of warm-blooded animals. The name bedbug is derived from the insect's preferred habitat of houses and especially beds or other areas where people sleep. Bedbugs, though not strictly nocturnal, are mainly active at night and are capable of feeding unnoticed on their hosts. Bedbugs have been around as long as humankind had beds. Recently there has been an upsurge in their nocturnal attacks in the US. To help find solutions to the nation’s bed bug problem, the Federal Bed Bug Workgroup is convening a second national summit set for February 1-2, 2011, in Washington, D.C. The summit is open to the public and will focus on ways the federal government and others can continue to work together on management and control of these pests. The first federal bed bug summit was held by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in April 2009. Since then, EPA has helped organize the Federal Bed Bug Workgroup, which consists of EPA, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Agriculture, Department of Defense, Department of Commerce, and National Institutes of Health.

Impacts of Bottom Trawling on Fisheries, Tourism, and the Marine Environment
December 9, 2010 11:19 AM - Editor, Oceana

Fishing is one of the most important employers and sources of protein for coastal communities in Belize. Yet bottom trawls and other kinds of unselective fishing gear cause harm to other fisheries and to the marine environment by catching juvenile fish, damaging the seafloor, and leading to overfishing.

Renewable Energy Incentives Future in Danger
December 8, 2010 09:04 AM - Richard Levangie, Triple Pundit

Political rancor seems likely to derail a vitally important piece of legislation affecting the renewable energy sector. The Investment Tax Credit (ITC) grant scheme was introduced as part of the 2009 U.S. stimulus package, and it was considered a key piece of legislation by the green sector because it supported the industry during an economic recession when venture capital all but dried up.

Supreme Court Grants Review in Key Climate Change Lawsuit
December 7, 2010 08:56 AM - Jonathan Kalmuss-Katz, Sive Paget & Riesel, P.C.

On December 6, the Supreme Court granted review of the climate change climate tort suit Connecticut v. American Electric Power ("AEP"), setting the stage for a major decision on the availability of common law remedies for climate-related harms. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who presided over oral arguments in the case while a judge on the Second Circuit, did not participate in the Supreme Court's consideration of the petition for review. Justice Sotomayor is expected to recuse herself when the case comes before the Court.

New Google Earth Technology Allows Tracking of Environmental Changes
December 6, 2010 06:31 AM - Yale Environment 360

Google has unveiled an online technology that allows scientists and researchers to track and measure changes to the environment using 25 years worth of satellite data. Google Earth Engine, introduced during climate talks in Cancun, utilizes "trillions of scientific measurements" collected by NASA's LANDSAT satellite, the company said. Google is already working on applications for tracking deforestation and mapping land use trends, including the creation of the most comprehensive scale map of Mexico's forest and water resources ever made.

Peak Oil, Then Coal
December 2, 2010 06:42 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

When will production of oil and coal peak? After the peak, production will decline because supplies are being depleted and no new sources are to be found. Peak oil is the point in time when the maximum rate of global petroleum extraction is reached, after which the rate of production enters terminal decline. Optimistic estimations of peak production forecast the global decline will begin by 2020 or later, and assume major investments in alternatives will occur before a crisis, without requiring major changes in the lifestyle of heavily oil-consuming nations. These models show the price of oil at first escalating and then retreating as other types of fuel and energy sources are used. Pessimistic predictions of future oil production operate on the thesis that either the peak has already occurred, that oil production is on the cusp of the peak, or that it will occur shortly. The most recent edition of the respected science journal Nature contemplates the end of cheap coal with an analysis of the decline of global coal supplies by Post Carbon Institute Fellows David Fridley and Richard Heinberg. The estimates for global peak coal production vary wildly. Many coal associations suggest the peak could occur in 200 years or more, while scholarly estimates predict the peak to occur as early as 2010. Research in 2009 by the University of Newcastle in Australia concluded that global coal production could peak sometime between 2010 and 2048.

Governments around the World are Acting to Reduce their Footprints
December 1, 2010 05:49 PM - Richard Matthews, Global Warming is Real

The sixteenth Conference of the Parties (COP16) in Cancun is the latest UN effort to get the international community to act on climate change. Although COP16 is not expected to produce a binding agreement, many governments have adopted initiatives to diminish their environmental impacts and carbon footprint.

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