Environmental Policy

Cool The Earth With Geoengineering? Maybe too risky to try...What could possibly go wrong?
November 6, 2010 10:05 AM - Amy Standen, NPR

At a recent meeting in Japan of the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity, diplomats tried to set some rules for future geoengineers. They issued what some are calling a moratorium on all geoengineering activities until the science is clear and there are global regulations in place. If you want to see what geoengineering might look like, go back to 1991, to the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, in the Philippines. The volcano spewed almost 20 million tons of sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere. Those particles can reflect sunlight back into space, and for a while, that's exactly what happened. Temperatures around the world dropped by an average of half a degree. It turns out you don't need a volcano to get the same effect. Scientists could use airplanes to inject sulfur dioxide directly into the stratosphere and bring down global temperatures. What's more, says David Keith who directs the University of Calgary's Energy and Environmental Systems Group, it would be pretty easy to do.

Two degree Celsius climate target may need to be adjusted
November 5, 2010 06:21 AM - Gerard Wynn, Reuters, LONDON

A widely agreed international target to avoid dangerous global warming must take account of local impacts and may need to change, said the chief scientist at the MetOffice Hadley Center, Britain's biggest climate research center. Julia Slingo said the target of limiting global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius (2C) may need adjusting to take into account research into local and regional effects, particularly on rainfall patterns, as climate science advances. More than 120 nations agreed to the U.N.'s Copenhagen Accord last December which aimed to limit average global warming to less than 2C, in one of the main outcomes of a fractious summit.

Locals fighting an Alaskan wilderness mine
November 4, 2010 05:49 AM - # Bobby Andrew and George Wilson Jr, guardian.co.uk

Anglo American promised it would not touch the pristine habitat of Bristol Bay without our blessing. It must honor its word. Among our Alaskan native tribes, a promise made is a promise kept. Such promises over the generations have kept our populations of wild sockeye salmon, which sustain our culture and feed our families, plentiful and healthy. And last year, Cynthia Carroll, chief executive of London-based mining giant Anglo American PLC, made a promise. In a private meeting with Alaskans in London (including one of this piece's authors), Carroll promised her company would not build its proposed Pebble mine if local residents didn't support it.

Organic farms better at potato beetle control
November 3, 2010 06:37 AM - Daniel Cressey, Nature News

A study suggesting that organic agriculture gives better pest control and larger plants than conventional farming is sure to reignite longstanding debates about the merits of organic versus conventional agriculture. It also highlights an often-neglected aspect of biodiversity. "Organic agriculture promotes more balanced communities of predators," says David Crowder, author of the new study published today in Nature.

Climate computer game lets you see how our choices can impact climate
November 2, 2010 06:57 AM - Nina Chestney, Reuters, LONDON

Ever wondered how one person could save the planet from the effects of climate change? A British-made computer game on trial release on Monday creates different ways of doing just that. 'Fate of the World' puts the Earth's future in players' hands, placing them in charge of an international environmental body which could save the world from the effects of rising greenhouse gas emissions or let it perish by continuing to rely on emissions-heavy fossil fuels.

The Everglades Rebound
November 1, 2010 09:46 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

The Everglades is an extensive wetland system that is actually a sixty mile wide, extremely shallow river that flows from Lake Okeechobee over 100 miles to Florida Bay. Over-development from sugar producers and urban sprawl have put tremendous stress on the entire ecosystem by draining the land and channeling the water. Now, after decades of restoration efforts, the state of the Everglades is beginning to improve.

UN biodiversity targets now need to be implemented say campaigners
November 1, 2010 08:38 AM - Tom Levitt, Ecologist

Almost every country in the world has signed a UN agreement to attempt to halt biodiversity loss by expanding protected marine and land areas. [There is] broad welcome for new biodiversity targets, including increase in protected areas, but campaigners express concern that previous 2010 targets have still not been met.

NOAA and FDA Announce Gulf Seafood well within safety standards based on new, more stringent testing
November 1, 2010 05:37 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

A study conducted by NOAA and the FDA, building upon the extensive testing and protocols already in use by federal, state and local officials for the fishing waters of the Gulf, NOAA and the FDA are using a chemical test to detect dispersants used in the Deepwater Horizon-BP oil spill in fish, oysters, crab and shrimp. Trace amounts of the chemicals used in dispersants are common, and levels for safety have been previously set. Previous testing involved a "sensory analysis process". Using this new test in the Gulf scientists have tested 1,735 tissue samples including more than half of those collected to reopen Gulf of Mexico federal waters. Only a few showed trace amounts of dispersants residue (13 of the 1,735) and they were well below the safety threshold of 100 parts per million for finfish and 500 parts per million for shrimp, crabs and oysters. As such, the study concludes that they do not pose a threat to human health.

Water Wars: Oregon Vs. Nestle
October 29, 2010 02:02 PM - Leon Kaye, Triple Pundit

Bottled water is a huge industry, and a profitable one. Last year it netted $10 billion in the US, but there are signs that the industry is slowing. Restaurants have turned away from pricey bottled water, and consumers have returned to tap water to save money. Nestlé is a huge player in the sector: its bevy of brands, which includes Perrier and Poland Spring, captures about 40% of the market. But recently Nestlé’s sales have taken a hit.

Can the Railroad Come Back?
October 27, 2010 03:52 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

At one time riding the rails was a delightful way to travel; quick and easy as well as a reasonable and profitable way to move goods. Something happened over the last 50 years. Some people objected to railroads as unsightly. They also became crowded and in many cases run down. A new report prepared by the Worldwatch Institute and the Apollo Alliance, Global Competitiveness in the Rail and Transit Industry, draws on lessons from dominant international rail manufacturing countries to conclude that greater investment in the U.S. rail industry could revive America’s former leadership in the world rail industry—and potentially create hundreds of thousands of jobs.

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