• New EU Carbon Rules for Cars will save money

    Connie Hedegaard, the EU Climate Action commissioner, argues that tougher standards for automotive carbon emissions are good Europe’s long-term economic and environmental health. "Do we really need more rules from the EU?" some might have thought when I presented the Commission's proposals for further reducing CO2 emissions from cars and vans earlier this month. The answer is: yes, we do need them. There is nothing wrong with new rules when they are well thought through and subjected to rigorous analysis, as ours have been. Environmental protection in Europe is one long story about the progress we can achieve when we make sensible regulation. Years ago we took the first steps to tackle emissions from cars. And it has worked. Just look how much the fuel economy of new cars has improved compared to just a few years ago. It is EU rules that have pushed this progress. And this is a great example of an area where it makes sense to do things together in Europe rather than developing 27 different national systems. >> Read the Full Article
  • Tracking Greenland's Ice Melt shows record melt area

    NASA researchers studying data from the Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) Oceansat-2 satellite this month noticed that the ice melt area on Greenland covered almost the entire ice sheath. This is very unusual and means that melting was occurring over almost the entire surface of the ice sheath. In most summers, the melting occurs in portions of the ice sheath while other areas are not melting. Typically, less than half the ice sheath is melting at one time. At high elevations, most of that melt water quickly refreezes in place. Near the coast, some of the melt water is retained by the ice sheet, and the rest is lost to the ocean. But this year the extent of ice melting at or near the surface jumped dramatically. According to satellite data, an estimated 97 percent of the ice sheet surface thawed at some point in mid-July. This is unprecedented in 30 years of monitoring ice melt by satellite. Researchers have not yet determined whether this extensive melt event will affect the overall volume of ice loss this summer and contribute to sea level rise. >> Read the Full Article
  • End of the last Ice Age - Close linkage between CO2 and temperature found

    The greatest climate change the world has seen in the last 100,000 years was the transition from the ice age to the warm interglacial period. New research from the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen indicates that, contrary to previous opinion, the rise in temperature and the rise in the atmospheric CO2 follow each other closely in terms of time. In the warmer climate the atmospheric content of CO2 is naturally higher. The gas CO2 (carbon dioxide) is a green-house gas that absorbs heat radiation from the Earth and thus keeps the Earth warm. In the shift between ice ages and interglacial periods the atmospheric content of CO2 helps to intensify the natural climate variations. >> Read the Full Article
  • Cleaner aviation depends on supplies of not so clean materials

    From the flight deck to the wheel brakes, new generations of aircraft that produce far less pollution increasingly rely on imported raw materials which are themselves dirty to produce. EurActiv reports from the Farnborough International Airshow. China and Russia are dominant suppliers of some forms of titanium – a lightweight metal used in airframes and parts – while China holds the lock on production of rare earth metals. Dependable supplies of these resources are vital as European and American airplane manufacturers juggle backlogged orders and address forecasts of exponential growth over 20 years. "It's an area that is going to increasingly become a challenge in the industry," said Dr Andy Jefferson, programme director at the industry-financed Sustainable Aviation research organisation in the United Kingdom. >> Read the Full Article
  • Did Deepwater Horizon Accident contribute to Dolphin Deaths?

    In the first four months of 2011, 186 bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) were found dead in the Gulf of Mexico, nearly half of them dolphin calves many of whom were perinatal, or near birth. Researchers now believe a number of factors may have killed the animals. Writing in the open-access journal PLoS ONE, scientists theorize that the dolphins died a sudden influx of freshwater from snowmelt after being stressed and weakened by an abnormally cold winter and the impacts of the BP oil spill. According to researchers, oil leaking from the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon could have decimated the dolphin's prey base, leaving a larger than usual number of dolphins suffering from malnutrition. >> Read the Full Article
  • Women in Asia Need more Equality to Achieve Climate & Poverty Goals

    New research released today by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) shows that despite more understanding, more resources, and policy recommendations, women continue to be largely marginalized and ignored or exploited in resource management processes throughout Asia – to the detriment of global climate and poverty reduction goals. This suite of analyses, released today at the International Workshop on Gender and Forest Tenure in Asia and Collective Forest Tenure Reform in China, demonstrate that exclusion and inequality on gender grounds are still rife and complicated by the intersection of cultural and social norms, economic pressures, and inadequate legal and institutional frameworks. Authors of the studies call for emerging programs and policies to combat climate change or encourage sustainable development to incorporate lessons learned. >> Read the Full Article
  • Mobius Motors creates a car specifically for Africa

    Joel Jackson arrived in Kenya in 2009 and immediately had a social innovation idea—yet it had nothing to do with the not-for-profit farming organisation that he had come with. It wasn't farming that caught Joel's attention, it was the state of the African roads: the lack of appropriate transport that has affected many parts of rural Africa, keeping areas remote. Joel Jackson rolled up his sleeves and set about building a vehicle that would serve the African market; a $6,000 (£3,850) car called the Mobius One. Africa's poorest are largely immobile and do not have appropriate transport services. Every day millions of people often walk 10+ miles to get to basic amenities such as clean drinking water, schools, hospitals and jobs. Chronic government underinvestment in roads and public transit has restricted travel. Africa's most disadvantaged cannot afford to buy a car, yet need reliable transport services to prosper. >> Read the Full Article
  • Olympic Athletes facing London pollution, city accused of not following EU rules

    With the Summer Olympics only days away, athletes are facing some of the worst air pollution in Europe. London's NOx and Ozone concentrations have the potential to adversely affect athletes, and the huge crowds that will be attending the games. Athlete performance is likely to be impacted, and attendees with health conditions should be aware to take care to not overdue their own exertion. Environmental lawyers are preparing to ask Britain’s highest civil court to force the government to comply with EU air quality standards. The ClientEarth legal organisation argues that the British government is breaching the 1 January 2010 EU deadline for complying with air quality plans for London and 16 other cities. The group contends that the government is neglecting its EU obligations to reduce emissions that contribute to urban smog and particulate pollution. "We've seen lots of headlines but very little action from the government," Alan Andrews, a ClientEarth lawyer in the case, told EurActiv in a telephone interview. Air quality, he said "just doesn’t get the attention it should deserve." >> Read the Full Article
  • Johnson & Johnson making great progress on aggressive sustainability goals

    Johnson & Johnson just released its new CSR report, which highlights the company’s many achievements. In a few areas the company exceeded its goals, including reducing carbon emissions by seven percent by the end of 2010 from 1990 levels. Johnson & Johnson exceeded that goal by achieving a 23 percent reduction. Waste reduction is another area where the company exceeded its goal to reduce hazardous waste disposed by 10 percent and non-hazardous waste disposed by 10 percent from its 2005 baseline. The company decreased hazardous waste disposed by 25 percent and decreased non-hazardous waste disposed by 12 percent. Every CSR report touts a company’s achievements, and when it comes to managing climate change risks, Johnson & Johnson is on top of things. Every year it provides $40 million for energy and green gas reduction projects. In the last seven years, 112 energy reduction projects have been approved, and 94 of them have been completed. To date, $208 million has been spent. >> Read the Full Article
  • Pet owners show greater concern for the environment

    Two-thirds of pet owners say they try to be good to the environment for the sake of their pet as much as a family member, according to new research from the Purina Together We Can campaign. The survey suggests that pet owners want to ensure that their pets can enjoy the great outdoors and they also want to preserve the planet for future generations of their beloved cats and dogs. When asked specifically about recycling, 29% of pet owners said that they do it to protect the environment for their pet. Overall, Britain's pet owners are setting a great example with 88% of them recycling their household waste either 'always' or 'often'. >> Read the Full Article