Environmental Policy

Investment key in adapting to climate change in West Africa
March 9, 2017 10:06 AM - International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis

Climate projections for West Africa show that crop yields and grass for livestock grazing are likely to decline in the future. But a new study in the journal Global Environmental Change shows that when ineffective institutions and political instability limit investment in agriculture climate change would have greater impacts on regional food security.

West Africa is a major producer of crops such as cassava, millet, and sorghum but in the future, regional production may not be able to meet the growing demand for food and livestock feed. “How and to what extent the region’s agricultural sector develops in the future will have profound implications for the livelihoods of millions of people,” says IIASA researcher Amanda Palazzo, who led the study.

More funding for long-term studies necessary for best science, environmental policy
March 3, 2017 02:24 PM - Oregon State University

Environmental scientists and policymakers value long-term research to an extent that far outstrips the amount of funding awarded for it, according to a study published today.

Graduate students and faculty members in the Oregon State University College of Science were part of a collaboration that evaluated the perceived benefits of long-term ecological and environmental studies – known as LTEES – to both researchers and those who determine environmental policy. 

Transforming the carbon economy: U.S. Energy Dept. task force recommends research
March 2, 2017 03:24 PM - Stanford University

Most strategies to combat climate change concentrate on reducing greenhouse gas emissions by substituting non-carbon energy sources for fossil fuels, but a task force commissioned in June 2016 by former U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz proposed a framework in December 2016 for evaluating research and development on two additional strategies: recycling carbon dioxide and removing large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. These strategies were developed under a single framework with the goal to produce an overall emissions reduction for the Earth of at least one billion tons of carbon dioxide per year.

Forests to play major role in meeting Paris climate targets
February 27, 2017 11:46 AM - University of Bristol

Forests are set to play a major role in meeting the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement - however, accurately monitoring progress toward the 'below 2°C' target requires a consistent approach to measuring the impact of forests on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

In a paper published in the journal, Nature Climate Change: Key role of forests in meeting climate targets but science needed for credible mitigation, scientists are calling for robust, transparent and credible data to track the real mitigation potential of forests.

Bigger May Not Be Better When It Comes to Mississippi River Diversions
February 15, 2017 08:40 AM - United States Geological Survey (USGS)

River diversions are a common coastal wetland restoration tool, but recent research, conducted by U.S. Geological Survey in collaboration with researchers in Louisiana State University’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the LSU AgCenter, has shown that large-scale Mississippi River diversions may significantly change water quality in estuaries, affecting economically important shellfish and fish species.

Accelerating Low-Carbon Innovation through Policy
February 13, 2017 09:51 AM - ETH Zurich / Swiss Federal Institute of Technology

Global climate change is affecting our planet and mankind; climate science is thus instrumental in informing policy makers about its dangers, and in suggesting emission limits. Science also shows that staying within limits, while meeting the aspirations of a growing global population requires fundamental changes in energy conversion and storage. The majority of low-carbon technology innovation observed in the last decades, such as the 85% cost reduction in photovoltaic cell production since 2000, was driven by largely uncoordinated national policies. These included research incentives in Japan and the U.S., feed-in tariffs in Germany, and tax breaks in the U.S.

Trump's wall puts wildlife at risk
February 9, 2017 07:10 AM - Lucina Melesio, SciDevNet

Building the wall that Donald Trump has ordered on January 25th, as one of his first actions as US president, will put on risk more than 50 animal species that share the ecosystem along the border between the United States and Mexico, scientists from various countries have warned.
 
Since 2006, 1,100 kilometers of barriers covering more than 30 per cent of the border between the countries have been built. The newest executive order commands the “immediate construction of a physical wall”, stating that ‘wall’ means “a physical barrier, continuous and impassable”.

Fiscal incentives may reduce emissions in developing countries
February 7, 2017 09:32 AM - University of East Anglia

A study has found that fiscal policies introduced by governments in developing countries can have a significant effect on lowering harmful carbon emissions and help countries with fulfilling their commitments under the UNFCCC Paris Agreement.

Protected Nature Areas Protect People, Too
February 3, 2017 08:04 AM - Michigan State University

A group of scientists is recommending giving the world’s nature reserves a makeover to defend not only flora and fauna, but people, too.

Scientists in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences argue that the world’s protected areas such as nature reserves, traditionally havens for endangered animals and plants, can be made better if they ratchet up benefits that directly help people. The world’s nature reserves not only defend nature for nature’s sake, but also can curb erosion, prevent sandstorms, retain water and prevent flooding and sequester carbon. The authors include more of a place for people – judiciously.

Protected Nature Areas Protect People, Too
February 3, 2017 08:04 AM - Michigan State University

A group of scientists is recommending giving the world’s nature reserves a makeover to defend not only flora and fauna, but people, too.

Scientists in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences argue that the world’s protected areas such as nature reserves, traditionally havens for endangered animals and plants, can be made better if they ratchet up benefits that directly help people. The world’s nature reserves not only defend nature for nature’s sake, but also can curb erosion, prevent sandstorms, retain water and prevent flooding and sequester carbon. The authors include more of a place for people – judiciously.

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