Sustainability

Latin America Analysis: Environmental Policy and Deforestation
February 21, 2013 01:06 PM - Carla Almeida, SciDevNet

In a year that was marked by bad news on the environmental front — the polar ice caps melting at an increasing rate, the decline in biodiversity, the failure to reach agreement on climate change, amongst other things — the release of data, at the end of 2012, showing a fall in deforestation in the Amazon, one of the most important biomes in the world, came as a relief. According to estimates by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) — a Brazilian organisation that conducts environmental surveillance programmes in the region — 4,600 km2 of jungle, in Brazilian territory, were deforested between August 2011 and July 2012. This is a drop of 27 per cent, compared with the same period, a year before. Brazil, where deforestation is seen as the main cause of carbon emissions, has set itself a voluntary goal to reduce illegal logging, annually, in the Amazon, to an annual maximum of 3,900 km2 by 2020. The latest figures would seem to indicate that the country is only four per cent shy of reaching its goal. Celebrations, however, have been short-lived. The Amazon's monthly deforestation alert system is already showing a marked increase in the area cleared in the last five months of 2012.

Renewable Energy Capacity Fuels Power Growth in January
February 21, 2013 06:02 AM - THOMAS SCHUENEMAN, Global Warming is Real

The latest Energy Infrastructure Update released yesterday by the Office of Energy Projects at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission reports that the US had 1,231 megawatts (MW) of new in-service generating capacity come online in January of 2013 — all of it from renewable sources including wind, solar and biomass. The new capacity for January represents a three-fold increase from the 431 MW of new renewable generating capacity that came online in January of 2012. Wind energy led the pack with six new units providing 958 MW, followed by 16 new solar units generating 267 MW of electricity and six new biomass units for 6 MW of new generation. Nuclear, hydro and all fossil fuel sources, including coal, oil, and natural gas offered no new electrical generating capacity last month.

Food: Sustainability, Security, Self-reliance
February 20, 2013 12:34 PM - Caroline Allen, The Ecologist

Poor harvests and rising food costs have become a depressingly familiar news item, with unusual weather patterns affecting food production across the US, Russia and in the UK. At the same time, more and more people are struggling to feed themselves and their families.

Climate Change Adaptation for Agriculture, Forests
February 20, 2013 10:01 AM - Andrew Burger, Global Warming is Real

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on February 5 released "two comprehensive reports that synthesize the scientific literature on climate change effects and adaptation strategies for U.S. agriculture and forests." The effects of climate change will be profound and far-reaching, according to the two reports, which drew on more than 1,000 peer-reviewed studies carried out by scientists in federal service, universities, non-governmental organizations, industry, tribal lands and the private sector.

Clean Coal Finally a Reality?
February 19, 2013 03:59 PM - J. David Thé, ENN

A team of researchers at Ohio State University (OSU) spent the past 2 years developing a clean way of harnessing the power of coal and have recently found great success in their research scale combustion system. The team is now able to harness clean coal energy chemically without combustion with air, while capturing 99% of the carbon dioxide produced from the reaction. With the next stage in testing on the horizon, could this possibly be the future of coal?

Over 35,000 march on Washington demanding climate action and rejection of Canada's 'carbon bomb'
February 19, 2013 09:16 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM

Yesterday over 35,000 people rallied in Washington D.C. for urgent action on climate change, which, according to organizers, was the largest climate march in U.S. history. Activists called on the Obama Administration to do much more to tackle climate change, including rejecting the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would bring carbon-heavy tar sands oil from Canada through the U.S. to a world market.

Elephants Poached in Gabon's National Park
February 15, 2013 09:27 AM - Allison Winter, ENN

Earlier this month the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) announced that Gabon's Minkebe Park has lost over 11,000 elephants due to poaching. Gabon contains over half of Africa's forest elephants, with a population estimated at over 40,000, however with this recent drop, WCS scientists confirm that Africa's largest elephant population has been cut in half during the past ten years. Elephants are poached mainly for their ivory, which has been an important part of Asian art for over a thousand years. Ivory can also be carved and used in everything from billiard balls to piano keys...

Environmental Excellence in Racing? YES!
February 15, 2013 08:11 AM - Staff, ClickGreen

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes has become the world's first motor sport team to receive the FIA Institute's Environmental Award for the Achievement of Excellence. The award is part of a broader initiative between the FIA and the FIA Institute aimed at evaluating and reducing the environmental impact of motor sport. It is also the highest level attainable within the FIA Institute Sustainability Programme, which helps motor sport stakeholders to measure, improve and be recognised for their environmental performance.

Find your Eco-Soulmate this Valentine's Day!
February 14, 2013 09:56 AM - Allison Winter, ENN

Single this Valentine’s Day? Not to worry - a new dating site based on a collaboration between the Ecologist and LoveandFriends.net launches today and calls for green, ethically minded singles. Online dating has increased in popularity the past couple of years as our busy society has progressed to an ever-present online world. And with sites for nearly every kind of person- from religious affiliations to ethnicities, to sites solely for military personnel, we are bound to have success in meeting the types of people we want to meet. And now with the launch of yet another dating site, we have the option to find our eco-soulmate.

NASA Develops Aircraft Design that Uses 50 Percent Less Fuel
February 13, 2013 01:15 PM - Cyrus Patten, Global Warming is Real

It seems like new, innovative technologies to reduce our carbon footprint are always 10 years away. It's hard to imagine there won't be another amazing technology just around the corner. In this case, NASA has developed a manufacturing method for wing-shaped aircraft. When combined with an uber-efficient jet engine called an "ultra-high bypass ratio engine", this new design promises to cut fuel consumptions by half.

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