Environmental Policy

Survey Shows Business Community Moving Toward Sustainability
October 26, 2012 06:18 AM - RICHARD MATTHEWS, Global Warming is Real

Initially, corporate sustainability was a tertiary practice that focused on reporting; increasingly, it is influencing core strategic business decisions. A proactive stance on sustainability is becoming a competitive necessity to attract investors, source talent, meet the requirements of supply chain partners, and address growing consumer demand. Companies are seeing the value of operating in ways that address environmental concerns, health and safety issues and operational risks. They increasingly understand that good product stewardship, responsible energy consumption, and low carbon practices are necessary components of a competitive business. Although a sustainability strategy can be onerous, it is an increasingly essential aspect of a viable business. Engaging sustainability requires that companies are innovative and that they know consumers. Obviously, they must avoid greenwashing and they must tie sustainability to their core business. Some of the contemporary realities that are emerging around the issue of sustainability involve collaborative approaches and securing appropriate external certification.

Nearly Curtains for the Mexican Wolf
October 25, 2012 09:24 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

In North America, the gray wolf has been nearly driven to extinction. Only thanks to recent conservation efforts in places like Yellowstone and other areas of North America have gray wolf populations bounced back. Unfortunately, this is not the case for a subspecies of gray wolf living in the US Southwest and Mexico, the Mexican wolf. There are few other land animals on the continent that have come closer to extinction. They were ruthlessly hunted and trapped by ranchers and the federal government since the 1800s. The Mexican wolf has been reduced to captive breeding in order to keep their species going. But this conservation effort appears to be failing, as it is plagued with mismanagement and conflicting rules.

Are Environmentalists basing positions on science, or not?
October 23, 2012 06:17 AM - Fred Pearce, Yale Environment360

On issues ranging from genetically modified crops to nuclear power, environmentalists are increasingly refusing to listen to scientific arguments that challenge standard green positions. This approach risks weakening the environmental movement and empowering climate contrarians. From Rachel Carson's Silent Spring to James Hansen's modern-day tales of climate apocalypse, environmentalists have long looked to good science and good scientists and embraced their findings. Often we have had to run hard to keep up with the crescendo of warnings coming out of academia about the perils facing the world. A generation ago, biologist Paul Ehrlich's The Population Bomb and systems analysts Dennis and Donella Meadows' The Limits to Growth shocked us with their stark visions of where the world was headed. No wide-eyed greenie had predicted the opening of an ozone hole before the pipe-smoking boffins of the British Antarctic Survey spotted it when looking skyward back in 1985. On issues ranging from ocean acidification and tipping points in the Arctic to the dangers of nanotechnology, the scientists have always gotten there first — and the environmentalists have followed.

Solar Power Adoption is Contagious
October 22, 2012 03:26 PM - Dani Thé, ENN

Apparently doing something good can be contagious. Or at least this seems to be the case with solar power adoption. According to a study by Yale and New York University published though Marketing Science, individuals are most likely to install solar panels on their home if one of their neighbors has also done so. The study, "Peer Effects in Diffusion of Photovoltaic Panels", took a close look at solar installation clusters between January 2001 and December 2011 throughout the state of California. They found that a resident was most likely to install solar panels if solar panels had already been installed within that resident’s same zip code.

Mississippi river diversions play an important role in wetlands
October 22, 2012 08:32 AM - University of Pennsylvania through EurekAlert

The extensive system of levees along the Mississippi River has done much to prevent devastating floods in riverside communities. But the levees have also contributed to the loss of Louisiana's wetlands. By holding in floodwaters, they prevent sediment from flowing into the watershed and rebuilding marshes, which are compacting under their own weight and losing ground to sea-level rise. Reporting in Nature Geoscience, a team of University of Pennsylvania geologists and others used the Mississippi River flood of the spring of 2011 to observe how floodwaters deposited sediment in the Mississippi Delta. Their findings offer insight into how new diversions in the Mississippi River's levees may help restore Louisiana's wetlands. While scientists and engineers have previously proposed ways of altering the levee system to restore some of the natural wetland-building ability of the Mississippi, this is among the only large-scale experiments to demonstrate how these modifications might function.

Top 5 Green Jobs on the Rise in the United States
October 22, 2012 08:18 AM - Frank Conley, Triple Pundit

Nowadays, you see the newest and latest products marketed by components that relate to the benefit of the environment. The green economy is rising by the second. Businesses and people are placing more of a value on "going green." The attention on the global environment is growing. For this purpose, more jobs have been created or altered to go green.

How can Conservation Efforts help species adapt to climate change?
October 19, 2012 06:33 AM - Science Daily

As the climate changes, conservationists are divided over the most effective way to preserve animal and plant diversity because they cannot simply preserve the status quo. Ensuring species can shift to track the climate to which they are suited is a complex problem, especially when there are competing demands on land use. A simple prediction is that more habitat would help species to shift, but it is not obvious what the best spatial locations for habitat would be. A new study led by scientists at the University of York says that well placed habitat "stepping stones" would lead to faster range expansion than the equivalent amount and quality of habitat tacked onto existing sites. The result applies to situations where a species will have to cross gaps of several times the distance one individual can normally traverse, i.e. to species whose habitat is fairly rare.

Will we need to pull carbon out of the atmosphere to save ourselves?
October 18, 2012 09:24 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM

This year saw the Arctic sea ice extent fall to a new and shocking low, while the U.S. experienced it warmest month ever on record (July), beating even Dust Bowl temperatures. Meanwhile, a flood of new research has convincingly connected a rise in extreme weather events, especially droughts and heatwaves, to global climate change, and a recent report by the DARA Group and Climate Vulnerability Forum finds that climate change contributes to around 400,000 deaths a year and costs the world 1.6 percent of its GDP, or $1.2 trillion. All this and global temperatures have only risen about 0.8 degrees Celsius (1.44 degrees Fahrenheit) since the early Twentieth Century. Scientists predict that temperatures could rise between 1.1 degrees Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit) to a staggering 6.4 degrees Celsius (11.5 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century.

10 Ways Abu Dhabi Leads The Arab Gulf's Green Revolution
October 18, 2012 09:04 AM - Laurie Balbo, Green Prophet

Abu Dhabi's stellar efforts to raise green performance across industry sectors position that Gulf state as regional leader in both conceiving sustainable solutions, and more critically, setting them in action. There are some more famous projects like the multi-million dollar zero-energy city Masdar. But this is just the tip of the bucket.

Limiting Overconsumption with "Economic Degrowth"
October 17, 2012 12:10 PM - Cameron Scherer, Worldwatch Institute

If everyone lived like the average American, according to the Global Footprint Network, the Earth could sustain only 1.7 billion people—a quarter of today's population—without undermining the planet's physical and biological systems. Overconsumption in industrialized societies and among developing world elites causes lasting environmental and human impacts. In his chapter, "The Path to Degrowth in Overdeveloped Countries," Worldwatch Senior Fellow and State of the World 2012 Project Co-director Erik Assadourian describes the benefits and opportunities of proactive "economic degrowth"—defined as the intentional contraction of overdeveloped economies and more broadly, the redirection of economies away from the perpetual pursuit of growth.

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