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.
Sustainability Priorities For Global Companies
October 17, 2012 05:46 AM - Editor, Justmeans
Results from the fourth annual "BSR/GlobeScan State of Sustainable Business Poll 2012," released today, outline the progress global business has made on 14 key sustainability challenges over the past 20 years, the areas where business is likely to make the most progress over the next 20 years, and key priorities for the year ahead—including human rights and climate. BSR and GlobeScan surveyed more than 500 business leaders drawn from BSR's global network of nearly 300 member companies. To examine the progress made in sustainability over the 20 years since BSR was founded, the survey asked executives to evaluate the past and likely future progress on 14 key sustainability challenges. Considering the next 20 years, respondents rated sustainability reporting, water, and responsible supply chains as the areas in which business will likely make the most progress. In contrast, respondents were least optimistic about future progress being made in public policy, governance, and employee treatment.
The City of Long Beach and Bike Nation unite to make Transportation, Travel More Environmentally Friendly
October 16, 2012 10:47 AM - Guest contributor, Andrea Oki
When many people think of Southern California they think of beautiful people, beautiful weather and ugly pollution-making traffic jams. National bike share provider Bike Nation and the City of Long Beach are looking to change that perception by providing visitors and residents alike with a healthy, cost-efficient transportation alternative and revolutionary ecologically sound improvements to its more traveler-friendly Airport. Representatives from the City of Long Beach and Bike Nation held a media reception in New York yesterday to lay out the plans for the West Coast's first major bike share program, a $14 million privately-funded commitment by Southern California-based Bike Nation, and detail the city’s expected completion of its $145 million Airport upgrades. Plans call for the installation of the first of 250 stations and 2,500 technologically advanced 'Made in the USA' bikes in downtown Long Beach by February of 2013. With 40% of car trips within two miles from home and 90% of emissions in a seven-mile trip generated in the first mile while the engine warms up, Bike Nation is providing an more ecological-friendly alternative mode of transportation to many of Long Beach's well-known attractions including its beaches, the Aquarium of the Pacific and the historic Queen Mary. Usage fees range from a single 24-hour membership ($6), to 3-day ($12), weekly ($25), monthly ($35), yearly ($75) and yearly student/senior rentals ($50).
Freshwater Mussels given protection
October 12, 2012 05:55 AM - Center for Biological Diversity
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service extended Endangered Species Act protection to eight species of freshwater mussels and 1,494 miles of stream in Alabama and Florida today, following an agreement reached with the Center for Biological Diversity in 2011 to speed protection decisions for 757 species around the country. The mussels have been waiting in line for federal protection since 2004. "Freshwater mussels are an integral part of the natural and cultural heritage of the Southeast, and it's very exciting that these eight species are getting the protection they need to survive," said Tierra Curry, a conservation biologist with the Center. "The Endangered Species Act has a 99 percent success rate at saving species from extinction, so now these cool animals have a fighting chance."
Global Conference Discusses Biodiversity Loss
October 10, 2012 05:40 AM - Andrew Burger, Global Warming is Real
Representatives from more than 170 countries are meeting in Hyderabad, India this week to discuss progress, problems and challenges in implementing the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), one of three historic international environmental agreements produced at the UN Earth Summit on environment and development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. All 193 UN member governments have signed and ratified the CBD, meaning they're a party to it. As stated in the convention, the objectives of the CBD "are the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources, including by appropriate access to genetic resources and by appropriate transfer of relevant technologies, taking into account all rights over those resources and to technologies, and by appropriate funding."
New Treatment for Wastewater Discharge
October 9, 2012 09:04 AM - Andrew Burger, Triple Pundit
The number and extent of so-called marine "dead zones" -areas of coastal ocean waters where nearly all forms of marine life have been snuffed out due to lack of oxygen—has been on the rise for decades now, posing increasing threats to commercial and subsistence fisheries, recreational fishing and human health. Terrestrial runoff containing relatively high levels of phosphorous, primarily from agricultural fertilizers, has been identified as one of the main culprits. Wastewater discharge from cities and urban centers is also to blame.
Why wasn't climate change a big topic at the Presidential debate?
October 9, 2012 06:09 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
The hour-and-a-half long debate between President Barack Obama and ex-governor Mitt Romney last night ended without a single reference to climate change. Frustrated with the lack of discussion on the issue from both candidates, environmental activists sent a petition with over 160,000 signatures to debate moderator, Jim Lehr, urging him to ask a question about climate change. The petition fell on deaf ears. "Although Barack Obama and Mitt Romney sprinkle their speeches with mentions of energy and climate, they have remained stubbornly silent on the immediate and profound task of phasing out a carbon-based economy," reads the website at Climate Science, which hosted the petition. "Their failure to connect the dots and do the math imperils our nation and prevents the development of a national and global plan to respond to the most urgent challenge of our era."
Stop the trade in Bear Bile!
October 7, 2012 07:43 AM - Miguel Llanos, NBC News
Two brother bear cubs rescued from suspected smugglers in Vietnam have become poster children for a campaign against the use of capturing and harvesting bears for their bile. The two men arrested said "they bought the cubs for $1,500" and were "going to sell them for a much higher price," most likely to a farm that harvests bear bile, Tuan Bendixsen, the Vietnam director for the nonprofit charity Animals Asia, told NBC News. "To get the cubs they would have to kill the mother," Bendixsen added, "and the mother's body parts would be sold" for the trade in purported medicinal cures from bear parts. The body parts most in demand are gallbladders and paws.