Rio+20 zero draft accepts 'planetary boundaries'
March 29, 2012 05:29 AM - Yojana Sharma, SciDevNet
The latest draft of the so-called 'zero draft' document, which will be presented to heads of government at the Rio+20 Summit in June, has been amended to include an acknowledgement that there are scientifically assessed 'planetary boundaries' which, if overstepped, could result in irreversible damage to the Earth's sytems. The draft is being prepared by national delegates to the United Nations, and will ultimately be presented to heads of government at the Summit for their endorsement.
Sustainable Cities: Meeting the Challenge of Rapid Urbanization the Focus of "Planet Under Pressure 2012"
March 28, 2012 10:21 AM - Andrew Burger, Triple Pundit
Addressing the social, environmental and economic challenges associated with rapid and growing urbanization is bringing some 3,000 experts from around the world together in London this week for the "Planet Under Pressure 2012" conference. With world population forecast to increase from 7 billion today to more than 9 billion by 2050, humanity's urban footprint will take up 1.5 million more square kilometers of land by 2030 at current rates, an area comparable to that of France, Germany and Spain combined. That translates into an average 1 million more city dwellers every week for the next 38 years...
Economic Impacts of Climate Change may be huge
March 28, 2012 07:07 AM - Luisa Massarani, SciDevNet
Climate change could reduce the economic value of the services the oceans provide to mankind by almost US$2 trillion a year by 2100, according to a study presented at the Planet Under Pressure conference this week (26—29 March). The analysis, conducted by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), relates to loss of income from fisheries, tourism, ocean carbon sink, and those related to sea-level rise and storms.
GM Investing in Car-Sharing
March 27, 2012 06:40 AM - Raz Godelnik, Triple Pundit
Corporate America is joining the access economy. You can already see signs of this trend with companies like Hertz, BMW, Ford and GM partnering with collaborative consumption companies, or even start a sharing service of their own. BMW, as we learned at SXSW has partnered ParkAtMyHouse.com, Ford partners with Zipcar, Hertz started its own car sharing service — Hertz on Demand, and GM has invested in RelayRides. It’s interesting to see the growing level of interest of large corporations in the sharing space, which sometimes seems to be at odds with the economic model their sales are based on. Take for example the case of GM.
London to ban old black cabs!
March 26, 2012 06:44 AM - Staff, ClickGreen
London's taxi regulators are to withdraw 2,600 ageing black cabs in an attempt to reduce air pollution in the capital. No black cab over 15-years-old will be licensed by the Taxi and Private Hire Office — taking off the road 2,600 taxis this year. Now Mercedes-Benz has launched an initiative to help London cabbies keep the city moving and at the same time delivering cleaner air.
Man, not climate change, linked to extinctions in Australia
March 24, 2012 08:10 AM - Yale 360 and Scientific American
The disappearance roughly 40,000 years ago of dozens of large mammals in Australia — including rhinoceros-sized wombats and tapir-like marsupials — was caused by human hunting and not by climate change, according to a new study by Australian scientists. Researchers at the University of Tasmania reached that conclusion after analyzing two mud core samples dating back as far as 130,000 years. By examining the cores for the Sporomiella fungus — which only releases its spores when in the dung of plant-eating animals — the scientists concluded that megafauna survived periods of climate change over the last 100,000 years. But when humans arrived in sizeable numbers, the presence of the spores dropped "almost to zero" around 41,000 years ago, indicating that hunting was the main reason for the extinction of these large animals, according to the paper, published in Science.
Greenpeace calls for zero deforestation globally by 2020
March 22, 2012 05:10 PM - Rhett Butler, MONGABAY.COM
Greenpeace reiterated its call for an end to deforestation in Brazil by 2015 and globally by 2020 during its launch of an awareness-raising expedition down the Amazon River aboard the Rainbow Warrior.
Climate Leadership Continues in the European Union
March 21, 2012 10:44 AM - Akhila Vijayaraghavan, Triple Pundit
The European Union might be going through a lot of financial turmoil at the moment, however they are still leading the way when it comes to environmental policy. Their carbon targets have consistently been higher than any other country in the world and they have also actually met and exceeded them. At the Durban Climate Summit last year, the EU environment ministers were noted for their progressive and constructive role they played in coming up with a new international agreement. The EU strategy has always been to lead with vision and to generate economic and environmental benefits. Since the EU has set binding emissions and renewable energy targets, many countries have followed suit.
Native Wildflowers are good for bees and biodiversity!
March 21, 2012 07:00 AM - Hazel Sillver, The Ecologist
Filling your garden with wildflowers helps honeybees and butterflies, and creates a relaxed mood. And, from the Easton Walled Garden to Sissinghurst, there's plenty of inspiration Many of the wildflower areas that provide food for pollinating insects (such as honeybees and butterflies) have shrunk over the past few decades. So far, we have lost 97 per cent of lowland semi-natural grassland, 20 per cent of chalk grassland and thousands of miles of hedgerow. This is the effect of intensive agriculture and, in urban areas, an obsession with neatness.
Monarch Butterfly decline linked to genetically modified crops
March 20, 2012 06:37 AM - Yale Environment 360 and the Star Tribune
A new study suggests that the increased use of genetically modified (GM) crops across the Midwestern U.S. may be causing a decline in monarch butterfly populations. From 1999 to 2010, a period when GM crops became more common on U.S. farms, the number of monarch eggs in the Midwest declined by 81 percent, according to researchers from the University of Minnesota and Iowa State University. The reason, according to the study, is the near-disappearance of milkweed, an important host plant for monarch eggs and caterpillars. The researchers attribute sharp declines in milkweed to widespread use of genetically modified corn and soybeans that are resistant to the herbicide, Roundup, which is then sprayed on fields, killing milkweed.