Environmental Policy

European Agricultural Ministers look to backtrack on Farm Carbon Program
May 17, 2012 06:29 AM - Editor

Conservation groups have condemned a move by European agricultural ministers to tone down some of the most controversial environmental proposals in the next phase of the EU's farm support programme. Agricultural and fisheries ministers from the 27 EU countries called yesterday (15 May) for replacing conservation measures recommended by the European Commission with a more flexible system. The decision was not a surprise — ministers have indicated in the past that there was little political appetite for creating requirements in the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) that tie direct payments to farmers to measures aimed at cutting carbon emissions and reducing other pollutants.

U.S. Military Not Retreating on Clean Energy
May 16, 2012 08:06 AM - John Gartner, Matter Network

While many government officials nervously await the outcome of the November elections and speculate as to its implications for the cleantech sector, one federal department is likely to be relatively unaffected regardless of the outcome: Defense. According to panelists at the recent "Mission Critical: Clean Energy and the U.S. Military" event in Denver, the military's growing commitment to reducing its use of fossil fuel, for both national security and economic reasons, will not waver regardless of who's in charge in the White House or the Congress.

European Airlines provide early data on carbon emissions, show slight reduction
May 16, 2012 07:42 AM - Staff, ClickGreen

Airlines operating in and out of European airports have complied with the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) and handed over data despite the refusal of carriers from China and India. The airlines have provided emission information ahead of the introduction of mandatory reporting. And according to the latest information provided by Member State registries released today, emissions of greenhouse gases from all installations participating in the ETS decreased by more than 2% last year.

Wind, Solar...Coconuts: Small Island Developing States Commit to Renewable, Sustainable Energy for All
May 15, 2012 03:20 PM - Andrew Burger, Global Warming is Real

Typically heavily reliant on the cost of high and volatile diesel and fossil fuel imports, small island developing states are also on the front line when it comes to having to cope with climate change. Now they're realizing there's a lot in the way of cleaner, more efficient and less costly power and fuel resources right at home. They're increasingly, if belatedly, establishing ambitious renewable energy programs and setting aggressive targets to employ local renewable energy resources to reduce CO2 and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, working with a range of international development agencies, public and private sector partners domestic and foreign, in doing so.

Africa may struggle to extract groundwater, experts say
May 15, 2012 01:10 PM - Hichem Boumedjout, SciDevNet

Vast groundwater resources have been revealed in Africa by the first continent-wide quantitative maps. But the resources may not be easily accessible because of political and technical challenges and costs, say experts.

Expect the Unexpected to happen with Climate Change
May 15, 2012 06:37 AM - Guest Post, Global Warming is Real

An increasingly common fallback position once climate change "skeptics" accept that the planet is warming and humans are the dominant cause is the myth that climate change won't be bad. In fact, this particular myth comes in at #3 on our list of most used climate myths. It's an ideal fallback position because it allows those who reject the body of scientific evidence to believe that if they are wrong on the science, it's okay, because the consequences won't be dire anyway. One of my colleagues, Molly Henderson recently completed a Masters Degree program class on scientific research which focused on climate change, which she aced (way to go, Molly!). For her final research paper, she examined the consequences of climate change on the prevalence of water-borne diseases in the US Great Lakes region.

Navy raises sonar impact on dolphins, whales dramatically
May 14, 2012 08:39 AM - Miguel Llanos, MSNBC.com

New Navy estimates showing many more dolphins, whales and other marine mammals could be hurt by sonar off Hawaii and Southern California caused alarm among environmentalists on Friday. The Navy, for its part, emphasized those were worst-case estimates and that the numbers cover a much larger testing area than before.

Cardamon cultivation impacting tropical forests
May 14, 2012 07:40 AM - Smriti Daniel, SciDevNet

Cultivation of cardamom, a high value spice crop, can take a toll on evergreen forests in tropical countries, independent studies in Sri Lanka and India have shown. Apart from disturbing biodiversity, cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum), plantations affect water and soil quality in tropical forests, the studies said. Researchers from Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom studying abandoned cardamom plantations in the Knuckles Forest Reserve (KFR) in the uplands of central Sri Lanka found adverse effects lingering decades after cultivation was banned.

Solar Power and Desalinization Innovations tested in Egypt
May 12, 2012 07:06 AM - Rehab Abd Almohsen, SciDevNet

The Egyptian Academy of Scientific Research and Technology (ASRT) has announced the launch of a pilot Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) project to test units that can simultaneously produce electricity and desalinate water. The four-year project test project, known as "Multi-Purpose Applications by Thermodynamic Solar", or MATS, has received 22 million Euros (US$28 million) from the European Union under its Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), and will also involve European universities and companies. This will be used to build and test MATS units at a site in Burj Al Arab, a desert area near Alexandria. The units can be powered using both solar energy, and renewable energy sources such as biomass and biogas. The test facility will aim to generate one megawatt of electrical power and 250 cubic metres of desalinated water per day.

Capturing Car Emissions
May 11, 2012 07:56 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

Cars do emit air pollutants. One aspect of this occurs during fueling of the vehicle. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that the systems used at gas station pumps to capture harmful gasoline vapors while refueling cars can be phased out. Modern vehicles are equipped to capture those emissions. This final rule is part of the Obama Administration’s initiative to reduce the economic burden of unneeded rules and requirements.

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