Sustainability

France opposes shale gas development
December 2, 2013 06:49 AM - EurActiv

French Environment Minister Philippe Martin reiterated his government's strong opposition to the exploitation of shale gas, despite a parliamentary report advocating more flexibility towards unconventional gas. The French government says it will not issue the permits for shale gas exploitation requested by the US company Hess Oil, Martin, the energy and ecology minister, announced on 28 November.

Massachusetts Legislature moves on fracking moratorium
December 1, 2013 09:16 AM - ecoRI News staff

The Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture has approved a 10-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing — better known as fracking. The committee’s approval of a bill introduced by Reps. Peter Kocot, D-Northampton, and Denise Provost, D-Somerville, came after Environment Massachusetts and its allies presented the committee with documented cases of water contamination, illness and other damage from fracking operations elsewhere. "From Pennsylvania to Colorado, fracking has contaminated water, threatened residents' health and turned rural landscapes into industrial zones" said Ben Hellerstein, field associate for Environment Massachusetts. "Thanks to the leadership of Chairs Anne Gobi and Mark Pacheco, we are now one step closer to protecting the Pioneer Valley from dirty drilling."

What is the true cost of food production?
November 29, 2013 08:18 AM - Patrick Holden, The Ecologist

Unsustainable farming systems that damage the environment and public health thrive at the expense of sustainable producers. Patrick Holden makes the case for "true cost accounting" ... We must account for the real costs of food, or sustainable food systems will never break through to the mainstream. We live in a time when the need for sustainable food and farming systems has never been more urgent. Earlier this year, over 200 leading scientists signed a consensus statement on Maintaining Humanity's Life Support Systems in the 21st Century. It expressed deep concern that society has reached the tipping points for a range of environmental and social consequences to our behaviour, which could significantly degrade life on earth by 2050.

Clean water filtration: basic necessity
November 27, 2013 01:30 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

Clean water is a vital concern as many parts of the world struggle with its availability. Kenya is a prime example of a country on the edge. Kenya's people have long struggled with lack of availability of fresh water creating hazardous health conditions. According to the World Bank, the country's population is well over 43 million people. The country is one of the poorest on the earth with one of the most arid climates. Only a small portion of the land is suitable for agriculture. Further, Natural resources available to Kenya do not support adequate or equitable delivery of water forcing people to spend many hours of each day, procuring water for basic sustenance.

Water industry warns it may not match demands of public supply and fracking
November 27, 2013 11:12 AM - ClickGreen staff, ClickGreen

A report by Water UK, which represents the water industry, warns that in dry spells there may not be enough resource to supply both the public and fracking operations. The research was released as it was announced the organization had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the UK Onshore Operators Group, which ensures the groups' respective members will cooperate throughout the shale gas exploration and extraction process.

Iroko trees, the new warrior for climate change
November 27, 2013 10:59 AM - Kristin Thiel, Worldwatch Institute

Iroko trees are native to the west coast of Africa. Sometimes called Nigerian teak, their wood is tough, dense, and very durable. Their hardwood is so sought after that the trees are often poached and are now endangered in many regions of Africa. But a new scientific discovery may aid in reforestation efforts.

Ammonia threatens national parks
November 27, 2013 09:09 AM - ENN, Staff

Ammonia emissions have become a serious concern for scientists at Harvard University. Of particular note, thirty eight U.S. national parks are experiencing “accidental” fertilization” at or above a critical threshold for ecological damage according the study recently published in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics.

UK ordered to install 70,000 electric vehicle charging points by 2020
November 26, 2013 03:27 PM - ClickGreen staff, ClickGreen

European law-makers have passed a resolution that will compel the UK to install a network of 70,000 electric vehicle recharging points as well as hydrogen and natural gas stations by 2020. The European Parliament today endorsed a draft directive that aims to reduce dependence on oil and boost take-up of alternative fuels, so as to help achieve a 60% cut in greenhouse gas emissions from transport by 2050.

Climate change signals a whale of a shift in feeding patterns
November 26, 2013 09:08 AM - Rebecca Kessler, Yale 360

Every summer and fall, endangered North Atlantic right whales congregate in the Bay of Fundy between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to gorge on zooplankton. Researchers have documented the annual feast since 1980, and well over 100 whales typically attend, a significant portion of the entire species. Only this year, they didn't. Just a dozen right whales trickled in—a record low in the New England Aquarium's 34-year-old monitoring program. And that comes on the heels of two other low-turnout years, 2010 and 2012.

Tuna and Sharks, a tale of two fishes
November 26, 2013 07:19 AM - The Ecologist staff, The Ecologist

ICCAT, the Atlantic tuna commission, sets science-based bluefin tuna catch quotas in the Mediterranean - but fails to protect for vulnerable sharks, or clamp down on rule breakers. The EU, represented in the meeting by European Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki, strongly backed respect for science. After years of mismanagement, ICCAT followed for the first time last year the scientific recommendations and set an annual quota at 13,400 tonnes for bluefin tuna fisheries in the East Atlantic and Mediterranean. In spite of the lack of a new assessment this year, there was strong pressure from several countries to increase the quota, disregarding scientific advice. The EU, represented in the meeting by European Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki, strongly backed respect for science. Proposals to increase the quotas were finally discarded.

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