Environmental Policy

New Ice Monitoring Technique Offers Insight into Great Lakes
November 14, 2013 11:52 AM - Allison Winter, ENN

With winter weather fast approaching, we start to look at how the big chill will affects our economy. And for the Great Lakes, frozen ice is bound to affect shipping lanes and local fishing industries. Connected to the Atlantic Ocean by way of the Great Lakes Waterway, each year, millions of tons of cargo are moved onto the lakes, supplying the US and Canada with important commodities. In addition to economic impacts, the lakes have a significant effect on the regional environment and ecological systems so the importance of analyzing and observing these frozen waters is crucial for the region. Fortunately, two scientists from NASA and NOAA have developed a new space-based technique for monitoring the ice cover of the Great Lakes. "In the dark, it's difficult to read a map that's right in front of you," said Son Nghiem of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, one of the developers of the new technique. "Yet we now have a way to use satellite radars almost 500 miles [800 kilometers] out in space to see through clouds and darkness and map ice across the Great Lakes."

China's Solution for Combatting Air Pollution? Convert Coal to Synthetic Natural Gas
November 14, 2013 09:17 AM - Kristina Chew, Care2

The air pollution in China has become the stuff of legend, or rather of nightmare. The number of lung cancer cases in the capital of Beijing has increased by more than 50 percent in the past decade. Just last week, an eight-year-old girl in the province of Jiangsu was diagnosed with lung cancer. In September, the government announced its Air Pollution Control Action Plan, its latest initiative to address air pollution so bad that the smog over northeast China for the past two weeks has been visible from space.

Modern strains put Lake Victoria in critical condition
November 14, 2013 09:03 AM - George Achia, SciDevNet

Pollution and overfishing in Lake Victoria have become so severe that scientists believe they threaten the health and livelihoods of millions of East Africans. And researchers in the three countries bordering the world's largest tropical lake — Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda — largely blame governments and national agencies for failing to control the effluent and other waste that pours into the water every day.

Boulder's bold energy statement
November 13, 2013 01:01 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

Recent election results from Boulder, Colorado highlight another rejection of traditional energy supplier policies. According to Boulder Mayor Applebaum, "This is a message that we have to change a broken system...we need some local control." While the ballot questions were locally directed, the results highlight the national debate on energy supply. Boulder's referendum focused on their local energy distributor's control of the energy mix and whether or not to purchase that company's equipment to run their own utility.

Developing nations bear the brunt of extreme weather
November 13, 2013 09:40 AM - Bhrikuti Rai, SciDevNet

Haiti, the Philippines and Pakistan were the countries that suffered the most due to extreme weather events in 2012, according to the Global Climate Risk Index released yesterday at the UN Climate Change Conference in Warsaw, Poland.

Filipino delegate: no denying climate change now
November 13, 2013 09:24 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM

Monday, the Filipino delegate to the ongoing climate summit, Naderev 'Yeb' SaƱo, dared climate change deniers to take a hard look at what's happening not just in the Philippines, but the whole world. Over the weekend, the Philippines was hit by what may have been the largest typhoon to ever make landfall: Typhoon Haiyan. Reports are still coming in days later; death tolls were initially estimated to be over 10,000 with whole cities simply swept away, but more recent reports are placing the death toll lower but still substantial.

Europe to open up free access to environmental satellite data
November 13, 2013 08:44 AM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen

The European Commission has announced it will provide free, full and open access to a wealth of important environmental data gathered by Copernicus, Europe's Earth observation system. The new open data dissemination regime, which will come into effect next month, will support the vital task of monitoring the environment and will also help Europe's enterprises, creating new jobs and business opportunities.

Tiny islands with big climate change problems
November 12, 2013 02:25 PM - Jan Piotrowski, SciDevNet

Tiny island states that speck the vast swathe of the Pacific Ocean have a far greater importance in understanding global climate change than their tiny populations would suggest. This was the message given to delegates during a side event of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change's 19th annual meeting in Warsaw today.

Ultraviolet nets significantly reduce sea turtle bycatch
November 12, 2013 08:58 AM - Christina Pham, MONGABAY.COM

Bycatch, a side-effect of commercial fishing in which non-target species are accidentally caught, is linked to severe population declines in several species. Sea turtles are particularly impacted by small-scale coastal gillnetting practices, in which large nets are deployed and indiscriminately snag anything of a certain size that attempts to swim through them. However, that may soon change. A new study in Biology Letters—conducted by researchers at the Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research at the University of Hawaii, Ocean Discovery Institute, Comison Nacional Areas Protegidas and Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center—announces the development of new technology that reduces bycatch rates by utilizing ultraviolet light.

LEED certification tax credit eligibility deadline fast approaching
November 11, 2013 02:22 PM - Guest contributed , Clean Techies

With construction projects facing deadlines to be eligible for tax credits, drop dead dates to meet contractual obligations and otherwise needing to obtain LEED certification by December 31st, submission deadlines to the Green Building Certification Institute are fast approaching. Appreciate that a couple of weeks ago (i.e., the week that ended November 2nd) 48 projects comprising 8,833,676 square feet achieved LEED certification in the U.S. (not including Homes or the several 'confidential' projects that were certified).

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