Small island states told to build wider ocean expertise
June 6, 2013 08:45 AM - Yojana Sharma, SciDevNet
With rising concern about ocean degradation and the sustainable use of ocean resources, small island states must build scientific expertise that goes beyond their national needs and that benefits the oceans generally, a meeting of UN scientific experts has heard. Small island developing states (SIDS) are the "custodians" of vast ocean spaces that are important for global food security, biodiversity, natural resources and carbon sequestration, and broader sustainable ocean policies will in turn enhance their own economic development, say experts.
Has power in the electric vehicle market switched from the US to China?
June 5, 2013 02:20 PM - Move Forward, Electric Forum
When we think of automobiles the likelihood is that the US is a country which will spring to mind and then perhaps other operations in the Far East, Europe and beyond. For many years the likes of Ford and General Motors have dominated the automobile industry giving the US government enormous power to lead while the rest follow. However, there is a growing concern that the US government may well be losing control of the electric vehicle market with the Chinese authorities now keener than ever to invest in this new technology. It seems almost inconceivable that President Obama, who has recently been forced to renege on his 1 million electric vehicle target, should lose control of the electric vehicle industry to China.
Good News about Los Angeles Air Pollution
June 5, 2013 07:28 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN
The emission reduction requirements on automobiles and trucks are resulting in improving air quality in the Los Angeles area. They have significantly reduced Ozone concentrations, a principal component of the smog that has been so common in the area. Another benefit is that these reductions have altered the pollution chemistry in the atmosphere, making the eye-stinging "organic nitrate" component of air pollution plummet, according to a new study led by a scientist from NOAA's Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder. For the study, being published online in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, the scientists analyzed new data from research aircraft along with archived data going back a half-century to produce a comprehensive study of air pollution in the Los Angeles region.
China’s Growing Arctic Presence
June 4, 2013 12:20 PM - Ed Struzik, Yale Environment360
China's recent admission to the Arctic Council under observer status reflects a new reality: the world's economic powers now regard development of natural resources and commerce in an increasingly ice-free Arctic as a top priority. When China — along with Japan, South Korea, Singapore, India, and Italy — was granted permanent observer status in the Arctic Council last month, it left many experts wondering whether a paradigm shift in geopolitics is taking place in the region. Until recently, security issues, search and rescue protocols, indigenous rights, climate change, and other environmental priorities were the main concerns of the intergovernmental forum, which includes the eight voting states bordering the Arctic and several indigenous organizations that enjoy participant status. But the admission of China and other major Asian economic powers as observer states is yet another strong sign, experts say, that the economic development of an increasingly ice-free Arctic is becoming a top priority of nations in the region and beyond.
What poses the greater risk, traffic accidents or air pollution?
June 4, 2013 06:20 AM - EurActiv
When a London anti-pollution organisation polled British lawmakers about the greatest risks to public health, most MPs were wrong, ranking traffic accidents or heavy drinking ahead of air pollution as a leading killer of Britons. "The vast majority of over 100 members of Parliament responding to our survey displayed a shocking level of ignorance about the health impact of air pollution," said Simon Birkett, head of Clean Air in London, an advocacy group. “"n particular, over two-thirds of Conservative MPs responding said air pollution has less impact than road traffic accidents," he said on releasing the survey results on 23 May.
June 3, 2013 01:38 PM - Suman Sahai, SciDevNet
It is time to stop discounting traditional expertise and make use of this vast and valuable resource, argues Indian scientist Suman Sahai. Science and technology have always been an important part of growth and development plans. But accepted 'scientific expertise' is Western, standardised and homogenous. From this viewpoint, the vast body of scientific expertise developed in diverse societies and cultures is discounted and ignored. Referred to as indigenous or traditional knowledge, this is a knowledge system distilled from generations of scientific work anchored in rural and tribal communities. It is different to the Western system of empirical, lab-based science — but is equally valid and efficacious.
Ending Poverty, Environmental Protection Strongly Linked
June 2, 2013 08:07 AM - WWF
Taxes, incentives, regulations, subsidies, trade and public procurement need to be realigned to favour sustainable consumption and production patterns if the world wants to end poverty, according to the UN High Level Panel charged with setting the new direction for global development. "Without environmental sustainability we cannot end poverty," said the UN's High Level Panel on the post-2015 Development Agenda. The report of the 26-member panel, which included UK Prime Minister David Cameron, Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Queen Rania of Jordan and Unilever CEO Paul Polman, has the potential to influence over USD 25 trillion of development spending and marks a clear break from the practice of treating development and sustainability as separate topics.
Stagnant Air, Emissions Contribute to Poor Air Quality in New England
May 31, 2013 06:10 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN
Much of New England is experiencing poor air quality that is expected to continue for another day or two. USEPA reports that unhealthy air quality, due to ground-level ozone, is expected for most of Conn., R.I., central and southern Mass. (including Springfield, Worcester, Cape Cod and the Islands), coastal N.H. and most of coastal Maine for Friday, May 31, 2013. Elevated smog levels are expected to continue through Saturday. "We expect Friday to be another unhealthy air quality day in many parts of southern and coastal New England," said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA's New England office. "On these days, EPA and the medical community suggest that people limit their strenuous outdoor activity. Further, everybody can help reduce smog-forming emissions by driving less and by setting air conditioner thermostats a few degrees higher." The ozone standard is 0.075 parts per million (ppm) on an 8-hour average basis. Air quality alerts are issued when ozone concentrations exceed, or are predicted to exceed, this level.
New Study Predicts Significant Global Warming
May 30, 2013 02:57 PM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
A new study by Australian scientists projects that the world will likely warm between 2 and 6 degrees Celsius (3.6 to 10.8 degrees Fahrenheit) from pre-industrial levels by 2100. The study published in Nature Climate Change finds that exceeding the 2-degree threshold is very likely under business-as-usual emissions scenarios even as scientists have long warned that passing the 2-degree mark would lead to catastrophic climate change. "This study ultimately shows why waiting for certainty will fail as a strategy," lead author Roger Bodman from Victoria University said. "Some uncertainty will always remain, meaning that we need to manage the risks of warming with the knowledge we have."
E.O. Wilson on Protecting a Biodiversity Hotspot in Mozambique
May 28, 2013 04:45 PM - EO Wilson, Guest Contributor
If you fly over the Great African Rift Valley and follow it south to the very end, you will arrive at Gorongosa National Park in central Mozambique. Plateaus on the eastern and western sides of the park flank the lush valley in the center. Dramatic limestone cliffs, unexplored caves, wetlands, vast grasslands, and a patchwork of savanna and forest contribute to the incredible diversity of this park. What makes this place truly unique, however, is Mount Gorongosa — a towering massif that overlooks the valley below. The mountain is topped with lush tropical rainforest that is home to some species that can be found nowhere else on earth.