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Environmental Policy

United Nations warns on pesticides
March 23, 2015 09:55 AM - EurActiv

The UN's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) said Friday (20 March) that three pesticides, including the popular weed killer Roundup, were "probably" carcinogenic and two others, which have already been outlawed or restricted, were "possibly" so.

IARC classified the herbicide glyphosate – the active ingredient in Roundup – and the insecticides malathion and diazinon as "probably carcinogenic" on the basis of "limited evidence" of cancer among humans.

Massive marine sanctuary created in the Pacific
March 22, 2015 09:47 AM - Tex Dworkin, Care2

Mutiny on the Bounty is a tale about the Royal Navy ship Bounty. On April 28, 1789, Fletcher Christian led sailors in a mutiny against their captain, Lieutenant William Bligh. So the story goes, the captain was set afloat in a small boat along with crew members who were loyal to him, while the mutineers settled on Pitcairn Island or Tahiti and burned Bounty off Pitcairn to avoid detection.

Today Pitcairn island’s population is about 50 people, including descendants of Fletcher Christian, and the surrounding waters where the Bounty supposedly went down in flames has just become the world’s largest contiguous ocean reserve.

This is great news for the sanctity of the Pacific ocean and its inhabitants.

Bill Proposed to Ban Wild Animals from Circus Performing
March 17, 2015 12:52 PM - Alicia Graef, Care2

Circus elephants just scored a victory with an announcement that Ringling Bros. will be retiring its performers, but big cats and other wild animals left behind may get their own victory in Pennsylvania if a state senator can get them banned.

The emotional and physical toll life on the road as performers takes on elephants has taken center stage, but for other species like big cats, life in the entertainment industry is just as bad.

Renewable energy sources really making a difference!
March 15, 2015 07:12 AM - Click Green staff, ClickGreen

Global emissions of carbon dioxide from the energy sector stalled in 2014, marking the first time in 40 years in which there was a halt or reduction in emissions of the greenhouse gas that was not tied to an economic downturn, according to new data from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

"This gives me even more hope that humankind will be able to work together to combat climate change, the most important threat facing us today," said IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol, recently named to take over from Maria van der Hoeven as the next IEA Executive Director.
 

The link between diesel exhaust and lung irritation
March 14, 2015 08:07 AM - European Lung Foundation via EurekAlert

Estoril, Portugal: Researchers in the UK have, for the first time, shown how exhaust pollution from diesel engines is able to affect nerves within the lung. Air pollution is a significant threat to health, they say, and identifying potential mechanisms linking exposure to diesel exhaust and the exacerbation of respiratory diseases may lead to treatments for those affected.

Mr. Ryan Robinson, a PhD student at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, UK, will tell the 13th European Respiratory Society Lung Science Conference today (Saturday) about his work studying diesel exhaust particles and airway sensory nerves. The news comes as the Healthy Lungs for Life campaign, launched by the European Respiratory Society and European Lung Foundation, takes places this year aiming to raise awareness of the importance of breathing clean air. 

Feds Propose to Protect 330,000 Acres for Black Pine Snakes
March 11, 2015 08:51 AM - Center for Biological Diversity

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today proposed to protect 338,100 acres of critical habitat in Mississippi and Alabama for black pine snakes, whose southeastern, longleaf pine forests have been reduced to less than 5 percent of their historic extent. The snake depends on these forests, which are being lost to agriculture and pine plantations, fire suppression and urbanization. Black pine snakes were proposed for Endangered Species Act protection last fall as the result of a settlement agreement with the Center for Biological Diversity that speeds protection decisions for 757 imperiled species around the country.

Are the EU's air pollution rules weaker than China's?
March 5, 2015 08:20 AM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen

Europe’s coal plants will be allowed to emit more deadly pollutants than their notorious Chinese counterparts under EU proposals for new air quality rules heavily influenced by the big energy lobby, new research has found. A Greenpeace investigation has found new pollution limits for coal-fired power plants currently being discussed by the European Union are significantly weaker than those in place in China, as well as several times weaker than what’s already been achieved by the least polluting plants in other developed economies, including the US and Japan.

University of Oxford finds trees inhale less carbon when they are drought - impacted
March 5, 2015 07:34 AM - University of Oxford

For the first time, an international research team has provided direct evidence of the rate at which individual trees in the Amazonian basin 'inhale' carbon from the atmosphere during a severe drought. 

The researchers measured the growth and photosynthesis rates of trees at 13 rainforest plots across Brazil, Peru and Bolivia, comparing plots that were affected by the strong drought of 2010 with unaffected plots. They found that while growth rates of the trees in drought-affected plots were unchanged, the rate of photosynthesis – by which trees convert carbon into energy to fuel their activities – slowed down by around 10 percent over six months. Their paper, published in the journal, Nature, concludes that trees may be channelling their more limited energy reserves into growth rather than maintaining their own health. Computer simulations of the biosphere have predicted such responses to drought, but these are the first direct observations of this effect across tropical forests.  

China bans carved ivory imports
February 27, 2015 09:00 AM - Editor, MONGABAY.COM

China has established a one-year ban on imports of carved African elephant ivory. 

Conservationists say the move, effective immediately, sends an important signal, but alone won't be enough to slow elephant poaching. 

"This announcement is an encouraging signal that the Chinese government is ratcheting down the import of African elephant ivory into the country," said Iris Ho, director of wildlife for Humane Society International, in a statement. "We are hopeful that more meaningful actions are being considered by the leadership and relevant government agencies of China that will further strengthen the country’s efforts on combating the elephant poaching and ivory trafficking crisis."

Michigan utility on the wrong track increasing rates for LED municipal lighting
February 26, 2015 07:00 AM - Andrea Newell, Triple Pundit

Earlier this month, DTE Energy announced a rate hike for LED lights. The decision sparked anger in Michigan city officials involved in municipal streetlight conversions, who would see their financial incentives for energy conservation diminish. At the same time, DTE plans to lower its rates on sodium lighting, which can use up to three times more electricity than LED.

In 2014 Ypsilanti, best known as the home of Eastern Michigan University, converted all 1,100 of its streetlights to LED — making it the first Michigan municipality to do so. City leaders worked with DTE Energy on the project and expected to see substantial annual energy savings. In the first year, the municipality’s DTE energy bill was 29 percent lower, saving $176,000. Now, with DTE’s proposed rate increase, Ypsilanti’s city leaders are seeing their expected savings disappear.

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