IUCN Red List reports decline in world’s oldest and largest species
July 2, 2013 08:49 AM - Kathryn Pintus, ARKive.org
The latest update to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species highlights a worrying decline in many economically and medicinally valuable species, from small freshwater shrimps and cone snails to gargantuan conifers, some of the world's oldest and largest organisms. An impressive 4,807 species have been added to the IUCN Red List this year, bringing the total number of assessed species to 70,294, of which 20,934 are threatened with extinction.
Texas A&M University plans huge solar project
July 2, 2013 05:58 AM - DailyTech, Justmeans
The proposed "Center for Solar Energy" at Texas A&M University's Central Texas branch will make the school the world's first all-solar university. The university has come up with this innovative project to save power costs and reduce its carbon footprint. It will utilize nearby unused land for the world's biggest solar test farm. The solar farm will be developed exclusively for solar prototyping and R&D, and not as a commercial farm. As a test farm, it will host hundreds of solar cell designs from various manufacturers. The university hopes to have more than a hundred solar technology manufacturers and other players on board for the project. The project is expected to draw in very large investments in solar technology research and development over the next five to six years.
Croatian fishermen worry about EU rules
July 1, 2013 05:53 AM - EurActiv
An English-language sign at the fishermen's pier in the Croatian town of Umag reads: "This fishing port was rebuilt with the support of the European Union". But most of the 3,700 fishermen who ply their trade in Croatia's eastern Adriatic fear that the country's accession to the EU on 1 July, and strict new laws and regulations that come with it, may be the end of their jobs. "I'm afraid we're in for a lot of unpleasant surprises," said Danilo Latin, whose family have been fishermen for four generations.
Humans pushing Sumatran Tigers to extinction
June 30, 2013 07:33 AM - Population Matters
A subspecies of tigers called the Sumatran Tiger is nearly extinct due to human involvement in its habitat, according to a new research paper. These tigers are found exclusively on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and only 400 of them live today. According to researchers from Virginia Tech and World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the number of existing Sumatran tigers is much lower than the current estimate. Their study showed that a high level of human activity in this region has led to a decline in the tiger population. The WWF says that deforestation and poaching is pushing the rare Sumatran tigers towards extinction, just like its cousins, Javan and Balinese tigers that are now extinct.
Giraffe need conservation help too!
June 29, 2013 07:44 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
Just two year's before his assassination, Julius Caesar brought to Rome one of the world's most astonishing living creatures: a giraffe. The animal was among Caesar's spoils from his campaign in Egypt and according to the Roman writer, Dio, the giraffe, which was arguably the first to ever touch European soil, was paraded in the Circus for all to see. Today, over two thousand years later, the giraffe has become one of the world's most recognizable animals: after all nothing looks quite like it with its spotted coat, tufted horns, and, most importantly, that impossibly long neck. But less commonly known is that the giraffe is in trouble with some subspecies down to just a few hundred individuals. "Two giraffe (sub)species have been classified on the IUCN Red List as 'Endangered'—the West African giraffe (<300 individuals) and the Rothschild’s giraffe (<700 individuals). However, sadly, there may be other populations threatened—if not all of them, as we are only starting to get a good feel on numbers and range. As an example, the Nubian giraffe in Ethiopia and maybe South Sudan would number less than the Rothschild's giraffe," explains Julian Fennessy, a conservation scientist and co-founder with the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF), in a recent interview with mongabay.com.
The new green in Las Vegas is not the felt on the gaming tables!
June 28, 2013 05:09 PM - Sangeeta Haindl, Justmeans
The Las Vegas Strip is known for its opulence, glamour and glitz, for being an adult playground, home to the world's best known casinos, but now it becoming known for being green and where not being wasteful is a key part of the City's business model. Sin City has been reinventing itself and is has become a model town of sustainability. Las Vegas is struggling to meet the water and energy demands of its 500,000 plus residents, which excludes the 40 million tourists who visit every year. Nevada is one of seven states that is dependent on the over-stretched Colorado River for its water supply, which is one of the most heavily plumbed and litigated river systems in the world. It is a critical reservoir for tens of millions of agricultural and municipal users from Wyoming to the Mexican border. The river is now in a very serious condition and the death of the river system will have huge implications for every resident, visitor and business in Las Vegas.
President Obama Announces Second Term Climate Change Agenda
June 28, 2013 04:39 PM - Jonathan Kalmuss-Katz, Sive Paget & Riesel, P.C.
In a speech at Georgetown University on June 25, 2013, President Barack Obama unveiled his administration's climate change agenda for its second term, featuring a series of rules and initiatives that can implemented by the United States Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") and other federal agencies without congressional action. While the details of these proposals will be determined through subsequent rulemaking, the plans and timeframes set forth in the speech signal a major expansion of federal climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts, with potentially significant impacts upon electric utilities and other regulated entities as well as units of state and local government most affected by the impacts of global warming. The centerpiece of President Obama's speech is a new Presidential Memorandum directing EPA to finalize proposed greenhouse gas ("GHG") emissions standards for new and significantly modified power plants by September 2013, to propose the nation's first GHG emissions guidelines for existing power plants by June 2014, and to finalize those guidelines by June 2015.
Backing Up Wind Power: The Policy Issues Associated with Hydroelectricity
June 27, 2013 10:08 AM - Allison Winter, ENN
What happens when there's no wind and wind turbines stop turning? What provides the back up power for this clean energy source on calm, windless days? While wind may be the fastest growing renewable energy source in the US, in order for us to rely on wind power, there needs to be some backup technology to fill in when wind does not blow.
Commuting on an e-bike
June 26, 2013 09:26 AM - Susan Clark, The Ecologist
It's week two riding an e-bike to work and it looks like a romance might be blossoming between Susan Clark and her borrowed bike...... It's only been a week but already I am feeling better, healthier, fitter and even a little trimmer. I have a nasty ripened mango-shaped and size bruise on my bottom. Raising just one eyebrow, my husband has casually enquired how I might have acquired this? In all honesty, I am not sure but I have a hunch it might be linked with my recent acquisition (on loan) of a supercharged e-bike which I have now spent a whole week using to cycle to and from work.
Very Little Soy is Actually Sustainably Produced
June 26, 2013 07:03 AM - Gina-Marie Cheeseman, Triple Pundit
While other commodity crops have much higher sustainable certification levels, only three percent of the world’s soy supply is certified sustainable, according to a new paper by KPMG International, titled A Roadmap to Responsible Soy. By contrast, 50 percent of non-farmed whitefish is certified, 16 percent of coffee, and 14 percent of global palm oil production. The paper is part of KMPG's Sustainable Insight Series.