Environmental Policy

Encouraging planting trees will sequester carbon and conserve habitat
September 23, 2014 04:00 PM - Oregon State University

Rewarding landowners for converting farmland into forest will be key to sequestering carbon and providing wildlife habitat, according to a new study by Oregon State University and collaborators. Current land-use trends in the United States will significantly increase urban land development by mid-century, along with a greater than 10 percent reduction in habitat of nearly 50 at-risk species, including amphibians, large predators and birds, said David Lewis, co-author of the study and an environmental economist in OSU's College of Agricultural Sciences.

The important role that agroecological farming can play to feed the world
September 23, 2014 11:02 AM - Nafeez Ahmed, The Ecologist

Governments must shift subsidies and research funding from agro-industrial monoculture to small farmers using 'agroecological' methods, according to the UN's Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. And as Nafeez Ahmed notes, her call coincides with a new agroecology initiative within the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation. This is critical for future agricultural policies. Currently, most subsidies go to large agribusiness. This must change. Governments must support small farmers. Modern industrial agricultural methods can no longer feed the world, due to the impacts of overlapping environmental and ecological crises linked to land, water and resource availability.

Can fossils reveal how to reverse biodiversity loss?
September 23, 2014 07:32 AM - ClickGreen staff, ClickGreen

Many native species have vanished from tropical islands because of human impact, but University of Florida scientists have discovered how fossils can be used to restore lost biodiversity. The key lies in organic materials found in fossil bones, which contain evidence for how ancient ecosystems functioned, according to a new study published in the September issue of the Journal of Herpetology.

Carbon Capture Technology and Climate Action
September 22, 2014 11:39 AM - David Biello from Yale Environment360

Some scientists and analysts are touting carbon capture and storage as a necessary tool for avoiding catastrophic climate change. But critics of the technology regard it as simply another way of perpetuating a reliance on fossil fuels. For more than 40 years, companies have been drilling for carbon dioxide in southwestern Colorado. Time and geology had conspired to trap an enormous bubble of CO2 that drillers tapped, and a pipeline was built to carry the greenhouse gas all the way to the oil fields of west Texas. When scoured with the CO2, these aged wells gush forth more oil, and much of the CO2 stays permanently trapped in its new home underneath Texas.

Action to limit CO2 emissions IS needed now!
September 22, 2014 07:47 AM - ScienceDaily

Carbon dioxide emissions continue to track the high end of emission scenarios, eroding the chances to keep global warming below 2°C, and placing increased pressure on world leaders ahead of the United Nations Climate Summit on the 23rd September. Global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion and cement production grew 2.3 per cent to a record high of 36.1 billion tonnes CO2 in 2013. In 2014 emissions are set to increase a further 2.5%, 65 per cent above the level of 1990.

Study looks at adapting to climate change
September 21, 2014 07:48 AM - ecoRI News staff

Rapid climate change and an increasing range of climate impacts are already being felt along the U.S. coast, and new research suggests that Northeast coastal waters may be more vulnerable to climate change and ocean acidification than previously thought. A team of scientists with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) recently received a $1 million grant from The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to develop science-based climate-change adaptation solutions for coastal communities and to partner with organizations to help these communities anticipate change and prepare to adapt.

Endangered Delmarva Peninsula Fox Squirrel still looks threatened
September 20, 2014 08:53 AM - Center for Biological Diversity

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced today the recovery of the Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrel, previously protected as an endangered species. The Interior Department made its finding based on an increase in distribution since 1967 from 4 to 10 counties where the squirrel can be found, and an overall population of 20,000. But despite these modest population gains, sea-level rise remains a severe threat to the species. "No one should discount the heroic conservation work that has been done to keep this squirrel from going extinct," said Brett Hartl, endangered species policy director at the Center for Biological Diversity. "But most of the places where the squirrel lives will eventually be underwater due to climate change and sea-level rise, and unfortunately most of the places on higher ground have already been lost to development."

Global Population May Surpass 13 Billion by End of Century
September 19, 2014 07:10 PM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM

By 2100, over 13 billion people could be walking the planet. That's the conclusion of a new study published today in Science, which employed UN data to explore the probability of various population scenarios. The new study further demolishes the long-held theory that human population growth will quit growing by mid-century and then fall. "Analysis of these data reveals that, contrary to previous literature, world population is unlikely to stop growing this century," reads the paper.

Arctic Cod fishery recovery aided by Norway and Russia
September 19, 2014 06:39 AM - John Waldman, Yale Environment360

The prime cod fishing grounds of North America have been depleted or wiped out by overfishing and poor management. But in Arctic waters, Norway and Russia are working cooperatively to sustain a highly productive — and profitable - northern cod fishery. What years of dwelling in the cold Atlantic had amassed, an army of knife-wielding, white-suited Norwegian factory workers were taking apart in just minutes. In a consummate display of optimization, streams of fish parts were whisked along on conveyor belts around and above me, with various cuts destined for their most appropriate markets. Nothing was wasted.

Malaysia's 'Smart Villages' and other great ideas for sustainable development
September 18, 2014 06:15 AM - Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology via EurekAlert

As nations zero in on the UN's post-2015 global Sustainable Development Goals, innovations being successfully pioneered and demonstrated in Malaysia offer several proven tactical ideas for improving the world, says an influential international sustainable development networking organization. The UN's Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), through its Malaysian chapter, cites ways in which the country is "rising to the challenge," including the construction of ingenious, self-sustaining "smart" villages -- each lifting about 100 families out of poverty and into affordable homes and employment. Meanwhile, guides for minimizing the carbon footprint of cities while promoting healthy lifestyles, and using science to extract new wealth from palm biomass waste are among other creative initiatives underway in Malaysia that help light a path for emerging economy countries.

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