Environmental Policy

UPS Foundation Donates $6M To Champion Diversity
February 2, 2012 06:04 AM - Editor, ENN, Justmeans

It's good news for the human environment. The UPS Foundation today announced almost 120 grants totaling more than $6 million to non-profit organizations around the world that champion diversity and support diverse communities. For more than 60 years, UPS's philanthropic arm has funded organizations that support under-served and under-represented members of society. This year’s grants will support a wide range of programs, including those for wounded veterans, the hearing and visually-impaired, women and girls and culturally distinct populations.

UN Calls Sustainable Development a Top Priority
February 1, 2012 11:21 AM - RP Siegel, Triple Pundit

The UN High-Level Panel Global Sustainability released its report in Addis Ababa yesterday entitled Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A Future Worth Choosing. The panel’s 99-page report, which will serve as an input to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in June, (otherwise known as the Rio+20 Summit) is a call to action, "to address the sustainable development challenge in a fresh and operational way." This document is incredibly rich, beautifully written and filled with a tremendous amount of good thought, clear vision, careful analysis, sober assessment, and useful suggestions for ways to move sustainable development from an abstract concept to the core of mainstream economics.

Canada Uranium and Other Mines: The Future
January 31, 2012 03:19 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Canada was the world's largest uranium producer for many years, accounting for about 22% of world output, but in 2009 was overtaken by Kazakhstan. Production is expected to increase significantly from 2013 as the new Cigar Lake mine comes into operation. Canada is also a large producer of many other mineral products. The problem is that many mining operations produce significant amounts of waste in an environment with a fragile ecosystem and limited resources to deal with environmental issues. While the government of Canada has introduced legislation to ensure that at least some of the costs associated with reclamation are accounted for in future developments, critics believe there are still serious risks.

NASA Confirms Man's role in Global Warming
January 31, 2012 06:52 AM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen

A new NASA study confirms the fact that greenhouse gases generated by human activity - not changes in solar activity - are the primary force driving global warming. The study offers an updated calculation of the Earth's energy imbalance, the difference between the amount of solar energy absorbed by Earth's surface and the amount returned to space as heat. The researchers' calculations show that, despite unusually low solar activity between 2005 and 2010, the planet continued to absorb more energy than it returned to space. James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York City, led the research. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics recently published the study.

Obama's Forest Service Weakens National Forest Wildlife Protections
January 30, 2012 09:13 AM - Editor, Center for Biological Diversity

WASHINGTON— The U.S. Forest Service today released a new proposal for the nation's 193-million-acre national forest system that will weaken rules protecting fish and wildlife from logging, livestock grazing, mining and off-road vehicles. The new proposal, which was released as part of the final environmental impact statement for the rule, is the Forest Service's fourth attempt since 2000 to revise nationwide regulations governing national forests. All three previous attempts were challenged in court by the Center for Biological Diversity and allies, and all three prior attempts were found unlawful. Like the 2000, 2005 and 2008 rules, the Obama administration's planning rule would decrease longstanding protections for wildlife on national forests.

Palm Oil Biodiesel and greenhouse gas emissions
January 30, 2012 06:43 AM - Editor, MONGABAY.COM

Greenhouse gas emissions from palm oil-based biodiesel are the highest among major biofuels when the effects of deforestation and peatlands degradation are considered, according to calculations by the European Commission. The emissions estimates, which haven't been officially released, have important implications for the biofuels industry in Europe. As reported by EurActiv, the data from the E.U. shows emissions from biofuels produced from palm oil (105g of carbon dioxide equivalent per megajoule of fuel), soybeans (103g CO2e/mj), and rapeseed (canola) (95g CO2e/mj) are higher than conventional gasoline (87.5g CO2e/mj). Sunflower (86g CO2e/mj) and biodiesel produced from palm oil with methane capture (83g CO2e/mj) are only slightly better than conventional crude oil, according to the data.

Cooling Lagoons aim to reduce thermal discharges to marine ecosystems, improve efficiency
January 29, 2012 07:16 AM - Tafline Laylin, Green Prophet

Gulf countries that lack freshwater resources rely deeply on seawater desalination to meet their daily needs and cool down thermal generation plants. According to Gulf News, the United Arab Emirates alone uses four trillion litres of Gulf seawater each year to cool down its power plants, foundries and desalination plants. The byproduct of these operations produces a hot briny fluid that is then pumped back into the Gulf, seriously compromising coral reefs and the overall marine ecosystem. But Crystal Lagoons — the same people who were behind the worlds largest artificial lagoon planned for the Red Sea, is marketing a new closed-loop cooling system that would ensure that no more water would have to be extracted from the Gulf to cool down industrial plants! Thermal power plants require water for cooling, but disposing of that water back into the Gulf is not only harmful to the marine ecosystem, according to Crystal Lagoons, it is also a waste of thermal energy.

The World is Still Consuming Dolphins and Other Marine Mammals
January 27, 2012 02:24 PM - David A Gabel, ENN

Not too long ago, a big problem with the fishing industry was that dolphins were being captured in the large nets used to harvest tuna. They would get mixed in and their meat would be ground up and served with the tuna in the tuna can. When people caught on, they were outraged. Now tuna fish providers offer their tuna cans with labels which say dolphin free. But not everything is so peachy for the dolphin in other parts of the world. According to a new study from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Okapi Wildlife Associates (Okapi), dolphins and other marine mammals are still being eaten. In fact, since 1990, 114 countries claim to consume one or more of at least 87 species of marine mammals.

Why Biodiversity Loss Deserves as Much Attention as Climate Change
January 27, 2012 01:58 PM - Akhila Vijayaraghavan, Triple Pundit

Biodiversity loss is probably a challenge that is often ignored as climate change looms. Currently the world is losing species at a rate that is 100 to 1000 times faster than the natural extinction rate, further, it is currently seeing the sixth mass extinction. The previous mass extinction occured 65 million years ago, and was caused by ecosystem changes, changes in atmospheric chemistry, impacts of asteroids and volcanoes. For the first time in history, the current extinction is caused by the competition for resources between a single species Homo sapiens and all others. A recent conference arranged by the Danish Ministry of Environment in the University of Copenhagen, provided an opportunity to influence the process of organizing a UN Biodiversity Panel. More than 100 scientists and decision makers from the EU countries gathered and came to the conclusion that drastic measures should be taken to decelerate current loss of biodiversity.

The Era Of Cheap Water Is Over: Deloitte
January 27, 2012 06:50 AM - Editor, Justmeans

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL) today launched the Water Tight 2012 report, which explores the future of the global water sector in the year ahead. The report examines how major global trends such as population growth, increasing economic development, and urbanization, coupled with the changes in climate patterns, underscore the importance of effective public policy and private sector water stewardship in managing this finite and shared resource. The growing demand for water is making conservation and efficient use central issues, particularly as governments, utilities, and the private sector come under increasing pressure to be stewards of this precious and shared resource. The report states that a clearer water pricing will play an important role in how customers better manage their water usage. "There is a compelling case for utilities either to increase water prices or create a better pricing system that addresses scarcity issues, allows them to invest in the replacement of ageing infrastructure, and provides them with a satisfactory financial return," says James Leigh, Global Leader for Water, DTTL. "Increasing water prices, however, is a difficult political decision, as domestic water usage is considered a basic human right. As such, raising awareness of water related issues and educating the public about the necessity of more effective water pricing is crucial."

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