• Hopes fading for climate agreement

    "Ask for a camel when you expect to get a goat," runs a Somali saying that sums up the fading of ambitions for United Nations talks on slowing climate change -- aim high, but settle for far less. Developing nations publicly insist the rich must agree far deeper cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, but increasingly believe that only a weaker deal can actually be achieved to keep the existing Kyoto Protocol, or parts of it, alive beyond 2012. "They have to ask for a camel... but will settle for a goat," Mohamed Adow, of Christian Aid, said of poor nations' strategy at a just-ended session of 180 nations in Bonn. Hopes for a treaty have dimmed since U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders failed to agree a binding pact at a summit in Copenhagen in 2009. >> Read the Full Article
  • Incredible Jungle games - Follow the hunter, New from BBC Earth

    "Is it all going to be like this?" Human Planet's Assistant Producer Willow Murton takes us into the thick of the rainforest and shares what it's really like to be confronted by deadly poisoned darts, a broken down boat and fortune in disguise. There are places that you imagine you may return to and people you may meet again and then there are farewells to people and places you assume you will hold as a treasured memories. For me Aurelio village was one of those places; so remote, so distant, one of only two communities where the Matis of Brazil live. Set in the vast indigenous Vale do Javari reserve, it takes several days' boat ride to reach the village, as well as many months of painstaking preparation. I had first come here to make the series "Tribe" and couldn't believe my luck when I was asked to make a return trip for "Human Planet"– a rare privilege. There is good reason to return to this remote corner of the Amazon for Human Planet's Jungles episode. The Matis are true masters of the rainforest. Pete, our endurance fit cameraman, and I are reminded of this on our first filming day. An hour into the hunt we’d come to film, we are up to our knees, even thighs at times in swamp mud, soaked through by the unrelenting rain and all eyes on deadly poisoned darts being fired over our heads! Pete turns to me and asks if it's all going to be like this? >> Read the Full Article
  • In the News: Latest update of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species released

    Released today, the latest update of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species shows that a staggering 19,265 species are currently threatened with extinction. Over 900 new species have been classified as threatened – that is, considered to be Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable – since the last update in 2010, showing that there is no let up in the extinction crisis threatening the world's biodiversity. Although more species are thought to be threatened than ever before, the IUCN are keen to highlight that there have also been major conservation success stories. >> Read the Full Article
  • Verizon Exceeds AT&T’s Energy Efficiency Performace

    Like AT&T, Verizon also recently released their 2010 Corporate Social Responsibility Report. Verizon's greenhouse gas emissions, which were 6.06 million metric tons (down 2.18% from 2009) beats AT&T (8.97 million) in absolute terms, per dollar of revenue and per terabyte of throughput. Their electrical energy consumption was 10.24 billion kWh. That's a carbon-intensity efficiency of 130.27. AT&T's was 415, more than three times as high. I don't have enough information to explain the difference here, but it looks like AT&T has some catching up to do in this area. They also did not provide data on actual energy usage, only their rate per terabyte. >> Read the Full Article
  • New from BBC Earth: The circus comes to town

    Traveling to the farthest corners of the world, it is not just the remarkable environments that can prove a little hard to capture. When Rivers Producer/Director Mark Flowers met the children from the North-East Indian root tree villages, he hadn't bargained on having to make himself the center of attention. But sometimes it's the little extra's that make an experience unforgettable. The most heart-stealing and downright soul- enhancing benefit of working on a Human Planet shoot is the children we encounter while we are filming. It's unbelievably refreshing to step outside of a regulated, fast-paced and impersonal modern, urban society and meet people who live in a more open, communal and for me personally, a far more "Human" way. The children we met during our trip to film living root bridges in one of the most remote areas of North-East India were fantastic – cheeky, smart and funny. To the young people who live in isolated hill villages in the rainforests of Meghalaya, the arrival of a gangly bunch of giant, pale-skinned strangers, brandishing weird black boxes, screens and cables, was the most surprising thing to happen in a long while. The circus had come to town! Within minutes of us stepping out of the cars, there were bright eyes at the windows and small hands waving from the homes we passed. High pitched "hellos" echoed all around while tiny toddlers stood dumb struck for a few seconds in doorways and then exploded into howls. Dogs barked and sulky, caged cuckoos crooned from dark corners. >> Read the Full Article
  • The Energy Debate: Coal Vs. Nuclear

    ScienceDaily (June 13, 2011) — As America struggles down the road toward a coherent energy policy that focuses on a higher degree of self-reliance, policymakers face numerous issues and realities. These include: the finite supply and environmental impact of fossil fuels, the feasibility and costs to implement a widespread switch to renewable energy sources, and the variables that lead to consumers' preferences for particular types of power generation. >> Read the Full Article
  • EPA delays rollout of CO2 rule on power plants

    The Environmental Protection Agency, under pressure from Republicans and big utilities, said on Monday it had extended a deadline by two months on draft rules that would for the first time limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. The EPA said it had moved the date for proposing the rule from July 26 to September 30 after listening to businesses and states that will have to implement the regulation. The rule, known as a performance standard, would limit the amount of carbon dioxide that U.S. power plants may emit. The move was expected as the EPA has taken on its most ambitious agenda in years. Republicans in Congress and big utilities have complained the rules could cost jobs and raise energy prices. The EPA said in a release that the "stakeholders have presented the agency with important input which deserves to be fully considered." The deadline for final standards remains May 16, 2012, the EPA said. >> Read the Full Article
  • Court Rules France Not Doing Enough to Protect Its Hamsters

    When the subject of hamsters comes up, most people would think about the cute furry pets that run on wheels and roll around in clear plastic balls. But in Europe, there is an endemic species of wild hamsters. Much like mice, they live a very fragile existence, always on the lookout for predators. Now, that predator has come in the form of the French, who are driving them toward extinction. >> Read the Full Article
  • Proposed new environmental regulations will cause AEP to retire 6,000 MW of U.S. coal generation

    American Electric Power, one of the country's largest coal-burning utilities, said on Thursday it plans to retire nearly one-quarter of its coal fleet and retrofit other units at a cost of as much as $8 billion to comply with proposed environmental regulations. To meet stricter pollution limits for air, water and coal waste, AEP said it will retire 6,000 megawatts of coal-fired generation in Virginia, West Virginia and Ohio in 2014. It also plans to upgrade or install new advanced emissions reduction equipment on another 10,100 MW, convert 1,070 MW of coal generation to 932 MW of natural gas capacity and build 1,220 MW of natural gas-fueled generation. The Columbus, Ohio-based company, which operates utilities in 11 states serving 5 million customers, warned that costs of the proposed regulations to customers and local economies have "been vastly underestimated," especially in Midwestern states that rely heavily on coal to produce electricity. >> Read the Full Article
  • China's CO2 emissions rise sharply

    China's carbon dioxide emissions rose 10.4 percent in 2010 compared with the previous year, as global emissions rose at their fastest rate for more than four decades, data released by BP on Wednesday showed. "All forms of energy grew strongly (last year), with growth in fossil fuels suggesting that global CO2 emissions from energy use grew at the fastest rate since 1969," energy major BP's annual Statistical Review of World Energy said. The rapid growth is happening as U.N. talks look unlikely to agree on a legally binding deal to curb emissions and fight climate change before the existing Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012. Global carbon dioxide emissions are widely seen as a major factor responsible for an increase in world temperatures. They grew 5.8 percent last year to 33.16 billion tonnes, as countries rebounded from economic recession, BP said. China's emissions accounted for 8.33 billion tonnes. >> Read the Full Article