Environmental Policy

The Regional Centre for Climate Change and Decision-Making
May 9, 2013 06:53 AM - Daniela Hirschfeld, SciDevNet

South America has got its first think-tank aimed at providing climate change knowledge to decision-makers to help them design tools tailored to local needs. The Regional Centre for Climate Change and Decision-Making was launched earlier this year (19 March) in Montevideo, Uruguay, where it will have its headquarters and where it is organising its first training event for policymakers. The centre is a joint initiative by the Panama-based Avina Foundation, which promotes sustainable development in Latin America, and UNESCO (the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).

Poachers seen at unique elephant habitat
May 8, 2013 12:48 PM - WWF

Poachers have entered one of Africa's most unique elephant habitats this week, threatening to cause one of the biggest elephant massacres in the region since poachers killed at least 300 elephants for their ivory in Cameroon's Bouba N'Djida National Park in February 2012. According to WWF sources, a group of 17 armed individuals on Monday entered the Dzanga-Ndoki National Park and headed for the Dzanga Bai, locally known as the "village of elephants", a large clearing where between 50 and 200 elephants congregate every day to drink mineral salts present in the sands.

Illegal Fishing Linked to Seafood Fraud in New Report
May 8, 2013 06:07 AM - Editor, Oceana

Today, as the nation's top leaders in fishery management come together at the 2013 Managing Our Nation's Fisheries Conference in Washington, D.C. to discuss science and sustainability, Oceana released a new report finding that illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing leads to seafood fraud and threatens fishing economies, seafood consumers and vulnerable marine species on a global scale. According to recent estimates, IUU fishing accounts for 20 percent of the global catch and contributes to economic losses of $10-23 billion, while also threatening 260 million jobs that depend on marine fisheries around the world. "Similar to the illegal ivory trade, pirate fishing is decimating the ocean's most vulnerable and valuable wildlife - we are losing the elephants of the sea to poachers," said Oceana campaign director and senior scientist Margot Stiles. "By fishing illegally, including in national parks, and targeting endangered species with destructive gear, poachers provoke economic losses in the billions of dollars every year, undermining decades of conservation by more responsible fishermen."

Chemical Manufacturers Enhance Commitment to Chemical Product Safety with New Responsible CareĀ® Code
May 7, 2013 08:15 AM - Andy Soos, ENN, Justmeans

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) and its members today launched a new Responsible Care Product Safety Code. Based on existing industry best practices, the Product Safety Code goes above and beyond regulatory requirements to manage the safety of chemicals in products that consumers rely on every day. The announcement comes as ACC marks the 25th anniversary of Responsible Care, an industry environmental, health, safety and security performance initiative focused on the safe, responsible, sustainable management of chemicals. Participation in Responsible Care is a condition of ACC membership.

Unconventional swine: how invasive pigs are helping preserve biodiversity in the Pantanal
May 6, 2013 12:38 PM - Erica Santana , MONGABAY.COM

Ordinarily, invasive and exotic species are a grave threat to native wildlife: outcompeting local species, introducing parasites and disease, and disturbing local ecological regimes. A unique case in the Brazilian Pantanal, however, has turned the tables; here, an introduced mammal has actually aided the conservation of native wildlife. The impact of feral pigs (Sus scrofa) is a serious threat to biodiversity in many ecosystems around the globe. Their destructive rooting behavior and voracious appetite are often severely damaging to populations of plants and small animals, not to mention they serve as a reservoir for a host of zoonotic diseases. In the Pantanal, however, introduced feral pigs have had a positive impact on wildlife communities and the local culture. The Pantanal region of South America, which extends beyond Brazil into Bolivia and Paraguay, is one of the largest freshwater wetlands on the planet and boasts a diversity of unique wildlife- but this hasn't always been the case.

Loggerhead Sea Turtles May Get Protected Habitat
May 4, 2013 07:33 AM - Center for Biological Diversity

Endangered loggerhead sea turtles won a federal commitment to protect critical nesting-beach and ocean habitat in a legal settlement filed late Thursday in U.S. District Court between conservation groups Center for Biological Diversity, Oceana and Turtle Island Restoration Network and the U.S. government. By July 1, 2013, the government must identify and propose protection of loggerhead sea turtle feeding, breeding and migratory habitat in ocean waters in the U.S. Atlantic and Pacific oceans and in the Gulf of Mexico. Final critical habitat protection for marine habitat and nesting beaches must be completed by July 1, 2014. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently proposed critical habitat protection for loggerhead nesting beaches along Atlantic and Gulf coasts and will accept public comment until May 24. Protecting critical habitat for loggerheads is essential for their recovery. Studies show that endangered and threatened species with protected habitat are twice as likely to be recovering as those without.

Climate Change is Already Affecting the Amazon
May 1, 2013 06:21 AM - Editor, MONGABAY.COM

Tribal groups in Earth's largest rainforest are already being affected by shifts wrought by climate change, reports a paper published last week in the British journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. The paper, which is based on a collection of interviews conducted with indigenous leaders in the Brazilian Amazon, says that native populations are reporting shifts in precipitation patterns, humidity, river levels, temperature, and fire and agricultural cycles. These shifts, measured against celestial timing used by indigenous groups, are affecting traditional ways of life that date back thousands of years.

The shady business of online wildlife trade
April 30, 2013 06:15 AM - Akhila Vijayaraghavan, MONGABAY.COM

The internet is certainly the cornerstone of modern technology and a boon for so much innovation. However, along with all its advantages, there are some serious drawbacks and one of the latest is online smuggling of wildlife. The Indian Express recently reported that India's wildlife police have discovered illegal websites selling live endangered animals, parts and rare plants.

Extended Range Electric & Hybrid Cars that Reduce Environmental Impacts
April 30, 2013 06:10 AM - Maria Ortega, Global Warming is Real

According to National Geographic, more than half the air pollution in the United States is caused by mobile devices, primarily by automobiles. These greenhouse gases that vehicles emit, such as carbon dioxide, are wreaking havoc on the ozone layer as well as polluting the soil and surface water in many cases. Bottom line— while cars are an everyday necessity and convenience, they're not doing the environment any favors. That's part of the reason why the federal government is offering tax incentives to those who purchase hybrid or electric vehicles, as well as challenging automakers to develop vehicles by 2025 that are able to achieve 55 mpg on the highway. It’s a bold goal but, as you can see from how much cars are responsible for pollution, it’s a necessary one that’s becoming more important.

EV's will help balance the electric grid
April 29, 2013 06:19 AM - EurActiv

A technology developed with the University of Delaware has sold power from electric vehicles to the power grid for the first time, the power company NRG Energy Inc said on Friday (26 April). In a joint statement, the university and NRG said that they began work on the so-called eV2g program in September 2011 to provide a two-way interface between electric vehicles and the power grid, enabling vehicle-owners to sell electricity back to the grid while they are charging their cars. NRG said the project became an official participant in the PJM frequency regulation market on February 27. The system, which is still in development, is not yet commercially-available.

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