News

EBR Decision
Dr. Tom Puk, a Professor from Lakehead University in Thunder Bay was the person who made the application which resulted in the land-mark 2005 decision to have the Ministry of Education subject to the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR). This decision is important because it requires the Minister of Education to establish and make public a Statement of Environmental Values (SEV). In addition it means that the public can voice any concerns they have about the SEV via a public forum on the internet. Until this time the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Finance were two of the major Ministries that were not accountable to the EBR (there are still eleven Ministries not subject to the EBR). Acts, regulations or instruments that Ministries put forward that might affect environment must be posted on the Registry before these laws are legislated. Like most of the other Ministries, under the current ruling the Ministry of Education is still not subject to the review process. Unfortunately the Ontario Government has never followed-up on their commitment and the decision to prescribe the Ministry of Education to the EBR has never been acted upon. We would ask that people write in and demand that the Ministry of Education be subject to Notice and Comment and Review ASAP. Even better, citizens should contact their MPP's, the Premier, Minister of Environment, and Minister of Education now. For additional information on how the EBR can impact Ecological Education please contact us at inquiries@ecologicaleducation.ca.



The following Earth News items provided by:

EcoEarth.Info - The Environmental Sustainability Portal

01/28/2015
Scotland announces moratorium fracking for shale gas
Guardian: The Scottish government has announced a moratorium on all planning consents for unconventional oil and gas extraction, including fracking. Welcomed by campaigners as “a very big nail in the coffin for the unconventional gas and fracking industry in Scotland”, energy minister Fergus Ewing told the Scottish parliament on Wednesday afternoon that the moratorium would allow time for the government to launch a full public consultation on the controversial drilling technique, and to commission a full...

01/28/2015
Obama’s Atlantic drilling plan criticized by Democrats
Grist: A group of Senate Democrats from the Northeast is pushing back on the Obama administration`s proposal to open new areas of the Atlantic Ocean to oil and gas drilling. New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker called the move "absolutely unacceptable" in a press conference Tuesday afternoon. Joining in the press conference were fellow Democrats Ed Markey (Mass.), Robert Menendez (N.J.), and Ben Cardin (Md.). "If drilling is allowed off the East Coast of the United States, it puts our beaches, our...

01/28/2015
Satellite study identifies water bodies important for biodiversity conservation
ScienceDaily: Using satellite images to study changing patterns of surface water is a powerful tool for identifying conservationally important "stepping stone" water bodies that could help aquatic species survive in a drying climate, a UNSW Australia-led study shows. The approach has been applied to the Swan Coastal Plain near Perth in Western Australia, which has more than 1500 water bodies and is one of 25 designated biodiversity hotspots on the globe. The study is published in the journal Environmental...

01/28/2015
United Kingdom: 10 things need to know about fracking
Independent: Fracking has barely been out of the news this week and every day brings further dissent to the controversial technique of breaking up shale rock from under our feet to release gas at high pressure with a cocktail of chemicals. Public opposition and concerns about local impacts have meant there has been no fracking in Britain since a temporary ban was lifted in 2012. Today Scotland has announced a moratorium on fracking, while Lancashire Council - where proposals for fracking are at their most...

01/28/2015
Beijing smog makes city unliveable, says mayor
Guardian: Beijing’s mayor, Wang Anshun, has called the city “unliveable” because of its noxious smog, according to state media. “To establish a first-tier, international, liveable and harmonious city, it is very important to establish a system of standards, and Beijing is currently doing this,” he said last Friday, according to the China Youth Daily newspaper. “At the present time, however, Beijing is not a liveable city.” Anshun’s speech came days before the market research company Euromonitor International...

01/28/2015
North Dakota: oil producers aim to cut radioactive waste bills
Reuters: North Dakota's oil industry is pushing to change the state's radioactive waste disposal laws as part of a broad effort to conserve cash as oil prices tumble. The waste, which becomes slightly radioactive as part of the hydraulic fracturing process that churns up isotopes locked underground, must be trucked out of state. That's because rules prohibit North Dakota landfills from accepting anything but miniscule amounts of radiation. The most common form of radioactive waste is a filter sock,...

01/28/2015
Scottish fracking block announced
BBC: The Scottish government has announced a block on planned fracking operations, pending further inquiries. Ministers will carry out new work on the environmental and health implications of the controversial gas drilling technique. Full control over fracking is due to be devolved to Scotland after May's general election. In the meantime, consent for unconventional oil and gas developments will be refused on planning grounds. The announcement by Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing came...

01/28/2015
Crisis talks to save endangered rhino
Agence France-Presse: Conservationists and scientists met in Kenya this week to come up with a last ditch plan to save the northern white rhinoceros from extinction. There are only five northern whites left on the planet -- three live in a 700-acre enclosure on the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in central Kenya, while the other two are kept in zoos in the Czech Republic and the US. "The battle is to work out what is feasible scientifically in the short time still available to us," Richard Vigne, the chief executive of Ol Pejeta...

01/28/2015
At Vatican, EPA Talk 'Moral Issue' Climate Change
ThinkProgress: Gina McCarthy, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, will make a short visit to the Vatican on Friday to discuss climate change. According to the National Catholic Reporter, McCarthy, an Irish Catholic from Massachusetts, will meet with senior officials including Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. "We’re hoping that this effort will not only generate sort of a broader understanding of the challenge of climate change, but a really good discussion...

01/28/2015
Bill Gates Says Prepare for Future Pandemics as for 'War'
Agence France-Presse: Bill Gates, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft, has cautioned that a technology-based action plan is needed to guard against future pandemics similar to how we "prepare ourselves for war." Gates, whose charitable Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation disburses nearly $4 billion worldwide, urged the international community to apply lessons learned from the Ebola crisis to develop a plan for future outbreaks. One strategy would be to create volunteer teams able to respond quickly to a public health...

01/28/2015
Thunderstorms Helping Bring Ozone Down Earth
Climate Central: Ozone is a bit of a shape-shifting chemical. High in the stratosphere, ozone acts as an ultraviolet-blocking shield around Earth (which is why the ozone hole is such a problem). At ground level, it's a pollutant that can cause serious respiratory problems. And if it finds its way into the troposphere -- the lowest level of the atmosphere -- ozone serves as a potent greenhouse gas that warms the planet. It ends up in the troposphere through a variety of processes including human pollution. It also...

01/28/2015
What Do Farmers Think Climate Change?
Scientific American: As a sociologist, J. Gordon Arbuckle Jr. spends a lot of time studying what shapes farmers' views and responses to climate change. It's a subject that has not gotten much attention, even as more research focuses on how to reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions and how to make farming more resilient to the impacts of extreme weather. "Our research so far has shown pretty clearly that although most farmers believe that climate change is occurring, a minority attribute it to human activity,"...

01/28/2015
England's beavers allowed to stay in the wild
Guardian: The first beavers to live in the wild in England for 300 years are to be allowed to continue to swim free in a Devon river as long as it can be proven they are free of disease and of Eurasian origin. Initially the government announced plans to trap the beavers, which are roaming wild in the River Otter, and confine them to a zoo or wildlife park, arguing they were an invasive species and could be carrying a disease. But environmental campaigners – and many people who live and work along the...

01/28/2015
Climate stresses push Kashmir's poor into militancy, Pakistan experts warn
Reuters: Financial hardship after a failed apple crop forced Aqeel Ahmed to give up his studies aged 20 and join a militant group fighting Indian rule across the border in the disputed territory of Kashmir. His family, as in many remote villages in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, had banked on earning half a million rupees ($5,000) from their orchard that year. But a sudden cold snap followed by torrential rains and a frost wrecked the apple blossom, dashing their hopes of making enough to buy food. "I...

01/28/2015
Rhetoric on EPA, climate show divisions Republican presidential hopefuls
Bloomberg: One likely Republican presidential candidate called the Environmental Protection Agency “locusts” while another compared climate change to a “sunburn,” exposing a contrast with several other likely contenders within the party who recently acknowledged the role of human activity in climate change. National Republicans almost universally have opposed President Barack Obama's plan for addressing climate change and how he has used the EPA to achieve those goals, but Senate votes the week of Jan. 19...

01/28/2015
A climate hawk separates energy thought experiments from road maps
New York Times: Dot Earth - New York Times blog energy A Climate Hawk Separates Energy Thought Experiments from Road Maps By Andrew C. Revkin January 27, 2015 5:24 pm January 27, 2015 5:24 pm Email Share Tweet Save More Photo Credit David Roberts, the progressive environmental blogger who coined the phrase “climate hawk,” has done the environmental community a great service with a Grist post stressing the difference between a vision of a climate-safe energy future and a strategy for making...

01/28/2015
World Can Live Better And Fight Climate Change UK Report Says
Reuters: The world can improve living standards for all while cutting climate-changing emissions to keep to an internationally agreed limit for global warming, a team led by the British government said on Wednesday. It launched an online calculator (www.globalcalculator.org) allowing businesses, governments, researchers and the public to explore how different ways of pursuing economic development to 2050 will shape carbon emissions and rising temperatures. Even though the world's population is set to...

01/28/2015
'World can cut carbon emissions and live well'
BBC: Forests around the world will need to be expanded by 5-15% to limit global temperature rises to 2C. And crop yields must rise by 40-60%. These are just two predictions for 2050 of an online tool developed by the government to consider options for cutting carbon emissions. The Global Calculator uses data reviewed by international experts to look at scenarios for meeting the 2C target, which scientists say is needed to avoid dangerous climate change. Led by the Department of Energy and Climate...

01/28/2015
United Kingdom: Lancashire council defers Cuadrilla fracking decision
Guardian: Planning decisions on the UK’s full scale fracking have been deferred for eight weeks by Lancashire county council (LCC), which was due to decide this week on two proposals from shale gas explorer Cuadrilla. But after council planning officers recommended last week that permission should be refused on the grounds of “unnacceptable” noise and heavy truck traffic, Cuadrilla submitted revised proposals. LCC’s chief legal adviser said on Wednesday that these proposals were “substantive” and therefore...

01/28/2015
The choking problem of Asia air pollution
BBC: At the age of 13, Tan Yi Han could not see the edge of his schoolyard. It was 1998 in Singapore, the wealthy city-state known for its tidy streets and clean, green image. But for much of that particular school year, clouds of smoke shrouded the skyline. The record-setting air pollution, which had begun in 1997 and lasted for months, caused a 30% spike in hospital visits. It would later be remembered as one of South East Asia's worst-ever "haze episodes'. Haze episodes have occurred in South East...

01/28/2015
Obama bans oil drilling 9.8 mil acres Arctic ocean
RTCC: US president Barack Obama has banned oil and gas drilling in 9.8 million acres of the Arctic ocean, while opening up vast new resources in the Gulf of Mexico. This means that parts of the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas off Alaska’s coast can no longer be considered for future oil and gas leases, though it does not revoke existing licenses such as those held by Shell. The five-year leasing plan means that nearly 80% of the undiscovered technically recoverable oil and gas resources on the US Outer...

01/28/2015
Govts Will Forge First Treaty Protect Global Oceans
Environment News Service: Government representatives from around the world agreed Saturday to develop the first legally-binding agreement to conserve marine life in the high seas and international seabed, an area covering roughly half the planet. After four days of intense deliberations at UN Headquarters in New York, delegates reached consensus to begin negotiating a UN treaty that addresses the protection of marine life in areas beyond national jurisdiction -- the global ocean commons. Delegates leaving the UN in...

01/28/2015
Obama Moves To Cement His Environmental Legacy
National Public Radio: He took steps to protect land in Alaska from oil and gas drilling, and to allow offshore drilling along the coasts of Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia — part of a climate change strategy.

01/28/2015
First step towards saving rhino
BBC: Experts are pinning their hopes on in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) to save the northern white rhino from extinction. Just five of the animals remain on the planet, after two adult males died within months of each at the end of 2014. At a meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, on Tuesday, conservationists decided to harvest eggs from the remaining females. The eggs will be stored with a view to being used for IVF in the future. While offering some hope for the rhino sub-species, it also underlines the...

01/28/2015
Queensland election: Climate science denied and ignored
Guardian: What does the Queensland election campaign and Nobel Prize winner the late Professor Sherwood Rowland have in common? Nothing. And also everything. Rowland’s work leading to the 1995 chemistry prize was key to understanding the ozone layer. Rowland’s co-authored 1974 paper in Nature theorised that the gases in air-conditioners and aerosols – the now banned chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) - could deplete the ozone layer. It would be over a decade later that a great big hole in the aforementioned...

01/28/2015
Ebola death toll is slowing, but what next for blighted West African countries?
Independent: Ebola saw to it that children in Sierra Leone often had to live in ghastly proximity to corpses. Like those in Liberia and Guinea, they faced death at every turn and their innocence, such as it was, was lost, stolen by a virus. Forced to support their families, they became child labourers or sex workers. The tide has turned in the fight against the disease that has claimed more than 8,600 lives in West Africa. From hundreds of new patients a week, there are now just a handful, with the World Health...

01/28/2015
Blizzard Spares New York, Buries Boston, Into Canada
Environment News Service: The powerful storm that brought heavy snowfall and blizzard conditions to the Northeast on Monday persisted Tuesday as heavy snow and blizzard conditions paralyzed travel from eastern Long Island to Maine. Snow and strong winds began tapering off from south to north Tuesday night into Wednesday morning as the blizzard system slowly moves northeast into eastern Canada. While the National Weather Service has posted blizzard warnings for eastern New Hampshire and Maine overnight, and periods of heavy...

01/27/2015
Obama acts alone on climate
Nature: The collapse of legislation to reduce US greenhouse-gas emissions was one of the most significant failures of President Barack Obama’s first term in office. Halfway through his second, in the face of an entrenched Republican majority on Capitol Hill, Obama is now trying to build an environ­mental legacy through actions that he can take without congressional approval. “Over the past six years, we’ve done more than ever to combat climate change, from the way we produce energy to the way we use it,”...

01/27/2015
Guinea's Ebola Numbers May Be Higher Than Reported
Voice of America: The world breathed a sigh of relief after the release of the World Health Organization's latest findings on Ebola. It said the number of new cases over the past five months showed its first decline since the start of the epidemic a year ago in the three hardest hit countries: Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. However, the international emergency response organization, International Rescue Committee, IRC, warned caution should be used when interpreting what the declining numbers really mean. Emmanuel...

01/27/2015
Sea turtles victim 'alarming' flood plastics entering Australian water
Guardian: Rates of marine animals needing treatment for ingesting plastic bags, balloons and other waste in Australian waters have “accelerated dramatically” in the past decade, according to veterinarians, the toll of more than five trillion pieces of plastic floating in the world’s oceans largely unseen. The manager of Sydney’s Taronga Zoo wildlife hospital, Libby Hall, said unprecedented numbers of turtles were being treated by the centre. Some had consumed so much waste that they regularly excreted scraps...

01/27/2015
Radical Evolution Isn't as Random as You'd Think
Nature World: Evolutionary biologists have always wondered that if we were to hit that "restart" button, would things still turn out as they have? A new study says that's more than likely, as many species seem to have stumbled upon the same few saving-grace traits on their own accord. That's at least according to a study recently published in the journal Nature Genetics, which details how an international team of experts set out to investigate the evolutionary history of three groups of aquatic mammals - the...

01/27/2015
Pollution may damage polar bear penile bones
RedOrbit: To put it plainly: human activity makes life difficult for polar bears. Climate change is destroying their habitat and dictating their diet. And now, as it turns out, we`re also hurting their penises. Well, our pollutants are hurting their penises, that is. Christian Sonne, professor in Veterinary Ecotoxicology and Wildlife Health at Aarhus University in Denmark, and his team connected high levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) with low baculum (penile bone) density. PCBs were used for...

01/27/2015
Intervention in civil war ‘far more likely in oil-rich nations’
Independent: Conspiracy theorists have long insisted that modern wars revolve around oil. Now research suggests hydrocarbons play an even bigger role in conflicts than they had suspected. According to academics from the Universities of Portsmouth, Warwick and Essex, foreign intervention in a civil war is 100 times more likely when the afflicted country has high oil reserves than if it has none. The research is the first to confirm the role of oil as a dominant motivating factor in conflict, suggesting hydrocarbons...

01/27/2015
Yes, we can live well and avoid climate disaster, says UK government
Guardian: The world can enjoy higher standards of living and more travel, while drastically cutting emissions to avoid dangerous climate change – but only with sweeping changes to our infrastructure, the natural world and agriculture, a new analysis has found. The UK government analysis also assumes that billions of people will remain in dire poverty at mid-century, despite efforts to lift them to greater prosperity, as the population rises to an estimated nine billion people. Dealing with greenhouse...

01/27/2015
Blizzard slams Boston area, spares New York despite predictions
Reuters: A powerful blizzard struck Boston and surrounding New England on Tuesday, leaving some 4.5 million people grappling with as much as three feet of snow and coastal flooding but sparing New York City residents who had braced for a significant blast. Snow was forecast to keep falling into early Wednesday in eastern New England, possibly setting a record snowfall in Boston. At Logan International Airport, 23.3 inches (59.2 cm) of snow was on the ground early evening, swept higher in parts by strong...

01/27/2015
But seriously, folks — this stand-up economist says Republicans will like his carbon tax
Grist: Economics has long been nicknamed the dismal science, and climate economics can really pile on the gloom and doom. Basically, when individuals act rationally and self-interestedly, in an unrestrained market economy, we pollute the planet to the gills and poor people bear the brunt of the ill effects. Case in point: Earth, right now. Yoram Bauman, the world’s first and only stand-up economist, likes to inject some lolz into grim climate economics (kind of like Grist). He`s a climate hawk, policy...

01/27/2015
China’s recent forest tenure reforms threaten panda habitat
Mongabay: Since the 1950s, plantations and second-growth forests in China have been locally managed by village communities as collective forests, which today account for 58 percent of China's forestland. Many of these collective forests lie within mountainous rural areas, some of which are also home to the 1,600 or so wild giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) that survive today. While much of the panda’s habitat – 63 reserves – is protected by the Chinese government, what is left of the endangered conservation...

01/27/2015
Monarch butterfly count rises as conservationists warn of extinction
Reuters: A tally of monarch butterflies wintering in Mexico rose to 56. 5 million this year from a record low of 34 million last year but conservationists said on Tuesday the increase was too slight to reduce the threat of extinction facing the insect. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said last month the popular orange-and-black butterfly may warrant federal Endangered Species Act protections tied to declines in cross-country migrations because of farm-related habitat loss. Sarina Jepsen, endangered...

01/27/2015
No US-India deal on climate change
BBC: US President Barack Obama's "historic" climate deal with China last November raised expectations that his visit to India would produce something similar. The world's largest carbon emitter, China, announced for the first time that its emissions would peak by 2030. The second biggest polluter, the US, said it would cut carbon emissions by 26%-28% by 2025 compared with 2005 levels. All eyes were then on the third largest carbon emitter, India, for a similar commitment that could set the stage...

01/27/2015
Decline of Early Mesoamericans Due Climate Change
Nature World: The drastic decline of a group of early Mesoamericans from the region around Canton was due, at least in part, to climate change, according to a new study. Cantona was one of the largest cities in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, located near present-day Mexico City, with a population of 90,000 inhabitants. And by 1150 AD, this population was completely wiped out, and researchers are just beginning to understand why. Described in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers...

01/27/2015
Hot Pore Systems May Have Harbored First Life on Earth
Nature World: Hot pore systems heated by volcanic activity may have harbored the first life on Earth, with conditions promoting the cyclical replication and emergence of nucleic acids, a new study says. In order for life to flourish on Earth, one critical precondition is that simple biomolecules must have the opportunity to form more complex structures, which can then reproduce themselves and store genetic information in a chemically stable form. However, in order for this scenario to work the precursor...

01/27/2015
Are extreme blizzards the new normal?
Climate Central: An intense nor’easter is blasting parts of New England with up to three feet of snow, along with strong winds and storm surge in coastal areas. It might seem strange to talk about a major winter storm in the context of a warming world, but as the climate changes, extreme snowfalls may become a bigger proportion of all snowstorms. Simply put, the warmer atmosphere holds more moisture, which can mean more snow as long as temperatures remain cold enough; average snow amounts are actually expected...

01/27/2015
Pollinator Loss May Put Poor Nations at Risk for Malnutrition, Study Says
Yale Environment 360: Declining pollinator populations could leave as many as half of the people in developing countries facing nutritional deficiencies, according to researchers from the University of Vermont and the Harvard School of Public Health. In the study -- the first to link pollinator declines directly to human nutrition -- researchers collected detailed data about people's daily diets in parts of Zambia, Mozambique, Uganda, and Bangladesh. They found that in Mozambique, for example, many children and mothers...

01/27/2015
Why Fracking Is a Breast Cancer Issue
EcoWatch: Most people consider fracking a climate change issue. They are able to make the connection between a potent greenhouse gas like methane and its impact on warming the planet. But methane emission leaks at well sites are only one of the many concerns of the fracking boom. The toxic process also uses more than 700 chemicals, many linked to breast cancer. Fracking threatens the necessities of life, and just as this process drives climate change, it also increases our risk for breast cancer. So what...

01/27/2015
What Is a CSA and Why You Should Join One
EcoWatch: A CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, is a way to support farmers in your area by buying into a share of food for the growing season. Similar models existed in Europe, Japan and elsewhere before its arrival in the U.S. in the 1980s. Inspired by Rudolf Steiner, the philosopher and social reformer who is credited with developing Waldorf education and biodynamic agriculture, a German and a Swiss biodynamic farmer brought the concept to the U.S. and simultaneously but independently established...

01/27/2015
Report Shows How Fracking Industry Failure to Follow Regulations Impacts Human Health
EcoWatch: A new report out today from Environment America Research & Policy Center shows that all types of fracking companies, from small to large, are prone to violating rules intended to protect human health and the environment. The report, Fracking Failures: Oil and Gas Industry Environmental Violations in Pennsylvania and What They Mean for the U.S., analyses Pennsylvania’s oil and gas industry over a four-year period and found that the top offenders of regulations—averaging more than one environmental...

01/27/2015
US north-east cost faces ‘historic’ blizzard
Blue and Green: A “potentially historic blizzard” could see as much as 3ft of snow hit the US north-east coast, the National Weather Service has warned. The warning comes as a study suggests that extreme weather events could double due to climate change. The US forecast led to travel bans, public transport being reduced and schools closing early. New York governor Andrew Cuomo said with a “potentially historic blizzard” the state was “preparing for the worst”. The weather comes as a new study warns that climate...

01/27/2015
Why bigger snowstorms come with global warming
InsideClimate: Winter storm Juno is expected to dump as much as 3 feet of snow across parts of New England early this week. Media outlets have already dubbed the storm "a massive blizzard of epic proportions." Schools closed their doors, grocery stores had their shelves stripped and governors announced travel bans along most of the storm's path. But on social media, Juno is being pointed to as the latest evidence that global warming is not happening, or that it's even a hoax or scam--an assertion that scientists...

01/27/2015
On climate change, "not a scientist" not enough for some US Republicans
Reuters: Rick Perry's farewell speech to the Texas legislature listed the accomplishments expected from an outgoing Republican governor of the country's largest oil-producing state. But his Jan. 15 speech also did something less predictable: touting his environmental record, from lowering Texas' carbon emissions to turning the state into a global leader in wind energy production. "We have expanded our economy while protecting our environment," said Perry, who is openly exploring a second White House run...

01/27/2015
Prince Charles: climate agreement should be ‘new Magna Carta for Earth’
Blue and Green: Prince Charles has called on the international community to act on climate change before we reach an irreversible situation. He said the climate change agreement, which is set to be decided in Paris later this year, should “be seen as a new Magna Carta for the Earth, and humanity’s relationship with it”. The Magna Carta, which limited the power of the monarch and established human rights for people in England, celebrates its 800th anniversary this year. The Prince of Wales suggested that the new...

01/27/2015
United Kingdom: Government forced to U-turn on fracking plans
Blue and Green: The government has been forced to change plans on where fracking can occur across the UK after conceding to Labour’s calls to close 13 environmental loopholes in the industry’s regulation. Energy secretary Ed Davey accepted amendments to the infrastructure bill put forward by Labour. The amendments include an outright ban on fracking within national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty, as well as areas close to water supplies. Fracking companies will also have to monitor the environment...

01/27/2015
Warmer, Drier Climate Locked In for Melbourne, Australia, Study Says
Sydney Morning Herald: Melbourne's climate can be expected to warm across all seasons, with less rainfall in winter and spring but more intense rain events, according to the latest projections by the CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology. The first update of the agencies' Natural Resource Management report since 2007 builds on improved modelling to project how the climate for the city and the country is likely to differ by 2030 and 2090. Since 2001, extreme heat records have exceeded cold records throughout Australia...

01/27/2015
Wyoming House Votes to End Ban on Teaching Climate Science as Settled Science
National Journal: Wyoming's House of Representatives approved legislation Monday by a 39-21 vote that paves the way for public school educators to teach students that the climate is changing as a result of human activity. The bill, sponsored by Republican Rep. John Patton, repeals a measure that prevents the Wyoming State Board of Education from adopting a science curriculum that treats man-made climate change as scientific fact. Wyoming lawmakers enacted the ban as a footnote to a state budget approved last...

01/26/2015
Scientists call Obama to stop logging in old growth forests
Mongabay: Seven conservation societies have joined a campaign to push the Obama administration to end old-growth forest logging in Alaska's Tongass National Forest. The American Fisheries Society, American Ornithologists Union, American Society of Mammalogists, Ecological Society of America, Pacific Seabird Group, Society for Conservation Biology, and The Wildlife Society are calling for the Forest Service to accelerate transitioning logging away from old-growth forests into secondary forests that were...

01/26/2015
Company run Sarawak governor amassed $1.4B state infrastructure contracts
Mongabay: Cahya Mata Sarawak, a publicly-listed infrastructure company run by relatives of Sarawak's former chief minister and current governor, has received over $1.4 billion in state contracts over the past 20 years, alleges an investigative report released by the Bruno Manser Fund. The report, titled Corruption Management Sarawak – Cahya Mata Sarawak and Malaysia’s Taib family, looked into CMS's activities since it was privatized by former Sarawak chief minister Abdul Taib Mahmud and taken over by his...

01/26/2015
155 Chinese nationals arrested for illegal logging in Myanmar
Mongabay: 155 Chinese citizens have been arrested in Myanmar for illegal logging, reports Agence France-Presse. According to a statement from China's foreign ministry, the Chinese nationals were arrested in Myanmar’s Kachin state. Few details about the circumstances of their arrest were available. Unregulated logging in Myanmar's northern forests is widespread. Chinese companies are the most dominant foreign entities in the sector, at times spurring local backlash. Illegal logging is a major issue...

01/26/2015
Ebola has killed third of world's gorillas, chimpanzees
Al Jazeera: The current Ebola crisis has taken a terrific toll in West Africa, stressing budgets, stretching fragile health systems to the breaking point and leaving more than 8,600 people dead since it returned to the region early last year. But seldom noted is the toll Ebola has taken on some of the world’s most endangered creatures -- the great apes. Although this outbreak now shows signs of slowing -- thanks to the heroic work of local medical professionals and a large influx of foreign aid and volunteers...

01/26/2015
Parliament bid to block fracking Britain fails
Agence France-Presse: A group of MPs failed to block plans for shale gas fracking in Britain, but the government agreed to tougher regulation and a ban on fracking in national parks. Some 200 protesters including the designer Vivienne Westwood rallied outside parliament as the vote was taking place on Monday, holding up placards and shouting slogans. One sign read "Shut the Frack Up" and a colourful knitted banner read "No to Fracking", an extraction process in which water, sand and chemicals are pumped at high...

01/26/2015
Climate Forecast: More Southwest Droughts & Australia Flood
National Geographic: People living around the Pacific Ocean, including in parts of Asia, Australia, and western North and South America, should expect wilder climate swings in the 21st century. Extreme versions of El Niño and La Niña, the sibling Pacific weather patterns that can translate into torrential rains or searing droughts, will likely occur nearly twice as often—approximately once every decade—if greenhouse gases continue increasing on their current trajectory, an international team of scientists has concluded....

01/26/2015
Accounting for natural capital on financial exchanges
Mongabay: Last month, Norway's stock exchange, the Oslo Børs, introduced a way for investors to use their money to promote sustainability. A new list by the stock exchange highlights green bonds, financial products issued by companies to raise capital for environmentally friendly projects. Notably, the list requires that issuing companies obtain and publicize outside opinions on the projects' environmental features. Børs executives said they expect the new list to attract investors and make companies aware...

01/26/2015
Liberia: Only 5 People Being Treated For Ebola
Associated Press: Liberia said Monday that there are currently only five confirmed cases of Ebola in the entire country — a dramatic turnaround in the West African nation where the virus has taken its deadliest toll. At the height of the outbreak in August and September, Liberia was recording more than 300 new cases of the virus every week. To date 3,636 Liberians have died of Ebola, according to the World Health Organization. But the outbreak has begun to wane. Now there are now just five people in the country...

01/26/2015
Risk of extreme weather 'doubles'
BBC: Extreme weather arising from a climate phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean will get much worse as the world warms, according to climate modelling. Parts of the world will have weather patterns that switch between extremes of wet and dry, say scientists. The US will see more droughts while flooding will become more common in the western Pacific, research suggests. The study, in Nature Climate Change, adds to a growing body of evidence over climate change and extreme weather. The latest data...

01/26/2015
Yep, Climate Change Is Still Causing Insane Storms
Bloomberg: Forecasters are projecting "crippling snowfall amounts and life-threatening blizzard conditions" throughout the Northeast. They may as well toss in a 100 percent likelihood of jokes from American conservative media about how snow invalidates the idea of global warming. Cue headlines, such as these early hits from the Drudge Report, about the "’Snowiest decade’ on record…," with a link to the conservative website Climate Depot. Or this FLASHBACK NYT: ‘The end of snow?’ headline, which points with...

01/26/2015
Climate change skeptic accused violating disclosure agreement
Boston Globe: A climate-change skeptic at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who has relied on grants from fossil-fuel energy interests apparently failed to disclose financial conflicts of interest in a newly released paper, according to a complaint by a climate watchdog group. The paper by Harvard-Smithsonian scientist Willie Soon and three other climate-change skeptics contends that the UN panel that tracks global warming uses a flawed methodology to estimate global temperature change. Soon and...

01/26/2015
Atmospheric Rivers Add to Antarctica's Ice Sheets
Environmental News Network: Extreme weather phenomena called atmospheric rivers were behind intense snowstorms recorded in 2009 and 2011 in East Antarctica. The resulting snow accumulation partly offset recent ice loss from the Antarctic ice sheet, report researchers from KU Leuven. Atmospheric rivers are long, narrow water vapour plumes stretching thousands of kilometres across the sky over vast ocean areas. They are capable of rapidly transporting large amounts of moisture around the globe and can cause devastating precipitation...

01/26/2015
How Technology Is Protecting World Richest Marine Reserve
Yale Environment 360: In 2000, Gregory Stone, an oceanographer at the New England Aquarium, went diving in the Phoenix Islands, an uninhabited archipelago belonging to Kiribati in the remote central Pacific. The multi-colored reefs swarmed with sharks and other large predators, an abundance shared by perhaps only a handful of remote atolls around the equator. “We were completely blown away,” Stone recalled. “It was the first time I had seen what the ocean may have looked like thousands of years ago.” The following...

01/26/2015
UK State Environmental Watchdog Calls for Moratorium on Fracking
Sputnik: Fracking is the process of extracting gas and oil from shale rock by drilling into the earth. "We cannot allow Britain's national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty to be developed into oil and gas fields ... Parliament should protect the rights of citizens by throwing these changes [eased fracking laws] out when they are debated later today,' EAC head Joan Walley, was quoted as saying in a statement published on the parliament's website. According to the report, the proposed infrastructure...

01/26/2015
Obama Seeks Wilderness Designation for Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
EcoWatch: President Obama’s Administration moved to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, known as one of the most wild and remote areas in the world. The Department of the Interior announced yesterday the release of a conservation plan that recommends additional protections for the Refuge that asks Congress to designate core areas—including its Coastal Plain—as wilderness, the highest level of protection available to public lands. This is the first time in history that a Wilderness recommendation...

01/26/2015
Climate change could impact poor much more than previously thought
Guardian: It’s widely accepted that climate change will have bigger negative impacts on poorer countries than wealthy ones. However, a new economic modeling study finds that the economic impacts on these poorer countries could be much larger than previous estimates. As a result, they suggest that we should be aiming to limit global warming to near, or perhaps even less than the international target of 2°C. This conclusion is in sharp contrast to current economic models, which generally conclude that the...

01/26/2015
Virginia’s move to cut emissions the smart way
Washington Post: WHETHER REPUBLICAN state leaders like it or not, the Environmental Protection Agency is going to require them to cut their states’ greenhouse-gas emissions. They can choose to do it the easy way or the hard way. One Virginia Republican is proposing they choose the easy way — and the smart way. Starting next year, the EPA will demand that every state’s power sector meet specific emissions targets, with the goal of cutting the electricity industry’s national carbon footprint by 30 percent of 2005...

01/26/2015
Bangladesh aims be world's 'first solar nation'
Reuters: Residents of Islampur, a remote village in the northern Bangladeshi district of Naogaon, were stunned one night last summer when the darkness was suddenly illuminated by electric lights coming from a village home. Why the surprise? The community has no connection to the country's power grid. The owner of the house, Rafiqul Islam, is one of around 15 million Bangladeshis whose homes are now powered by solar home systems, or SHS, under a government scheme to provide clean power to communities...

01/26/2015
The carbon that's killing India, and how California can help
LA Times: This week, President Obama is the chief guest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at India's Republic Day celebrations. At the close of the historic visit, the two leaders are expected to announce cooperation on a suite of climate and clean energy measures, with the ultimate goal of reining in India's rapidly rising carbon dioxide emissions. But during his visit, the president, just like New Delhi's 25 million residents, will be exposed to another kind of dangerous carbon pollution: black carbon....

01/26/2015
Modi shifts on climate change with India renewables goal
Bloomberg: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India is ready to expand its use of renewable energy as a way to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, a signal that his government is moving toward joining an international deal on global warming. After a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in New Delhi, the prime minister said that his nation along with all others has an obligation to act on reducing the fossil-fuel emissions blamed for damaging the climate. The remarks represent a shift in India’s tone on...

01/26/2015
Obama & Modi link zero carbon and zero extreme poverty
InsideClimate: At a news conference wrapping up President Obama's visit in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was asked whether he felt pressure from his guest to make a big pledge about tackling climate change, as China did a few months ago. "India is an independent country," he replied, "and there is no pressure on us from any country or any person." That might sound prickly, but what Modi said next might as well have come out of the mouth of Obama, a president who covets global warming progress as a jewel...

01/26/2015
Educated on climate science
Charleston Gazette: Some members of West Virginia’s Board of Education — presumably swayed by the state’s polluting industries — attempted to cast doubt over global warming by changing rules for discussion in Mountain State science classrooms. But protests from science teachers and others caused the board to reverse itself. That’s fortunate — because, a couple of days later, top federal scientists reported that 2014 was the hottest year ever recorded around the planet, and that 14 of the 15 warmest years have occurred...

01/26/2015
Cool off w/ emissions cuts
Post and Courier: NASA recently stirred a minor controversy with a release proclaiming 2014 as the warmest year on record. The claim was picked up by President Obama in last week’s State of the Union speech. Not so fast, according to Berkeley Earth, an independent climate think tank in California. It said 2014 was only “nominally” the warmest because “within the margin of error, it is tied with 2005 and 2010 and so we can’t be certain it set a new record.” Either way, though, the 2014 numbers extend a pattern...

01/26/2015
Polar bear penis bone weakened by pollution
New Scientist: First climate change, now penile fracture - polar bears have got it pretty rough. Chemical pollutants may be reducing the density of the bears' penis bones, putting them at risk of breaking this most intimate part of their anatomy. Various mammals, though not humans, have a penis bone, also known as penile bone or baculum. Its exact function is unclear: it could be just a by-product of evolution, or it may help support the penis or stimulate the female during mating. Christian Sonne at Aarhus...

01/26/2015
Obama push to expand Alaskan refuge
BBC: President Barack Obama is to propose setting aside the majority of Alaska's national wildlife refuge as a wilderness area. This would halt the possibility of fossil fuel exploration in the refuge's potentially oil-rich coastal plain. The proposal drew an angry response from top state-elected officials. Some 2.8 million hectares (7 million acres) of the refuge are managed as wilderness. The new plans would see a further 4.8 million hectares (12.3 million acres) hectares set aside. The...

01/26/2015
EU paper calls for binding CCS targets by 2030
Guardian: European countries should be given binding targets for installing technology to capture and store carbon emissions, according to a new report for the European commission. The UN’s climate science panel says such technology could have to account for over a fifth of the world’s carbon cuts by 2050 and the new paper, produced by consultants for the EC, says there is a “genuine and urgent” need for it in Europe. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is an experimental technology that traps emissions...

01/26/2015
Last year tied with 2010 as warmest on record: British data
Reuters: Last year tied with 2010 as the hottest on record, in a new sign of long-term global warming stoked by human activities, according to British data on Monday that back up U.S. findings of record-breaking heat in 2014. The worldwide data, compiled by the Met Office and the University of East Anglia from records stretching back to 1850, showed average surface temperatures last year were 0.56 degree Celsius (1.0 Fahrenheit) above the long-term average of 1961-90. "This ranks 2014 as the joint warmest...

01/26/2015
India and U.S. agree on some energy deals — but no emission cuts
Grist: On Sunday, the first day of Obama’s visit to India, the president and Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a number of announcements pertaining to the environment. But none were the big one that greens were hoping for: some indication from India that bringing electricity to its hundreds of millions of poor and reducing greenhouse gas emissions are not mutually exclusive goals. The two leaders came to an agreement that would make it much easier for U.S. companies to help build nuclear reactors in...

01/26/2015
Copenhagen unveils first climate-change adapted neighborhood
Al Jazeera: Come hell or high water, the residents of St. Kjeld, a Copenhagen neighborhood, will be ready. Actually, skip the hell part. But when the next megastorm hits the Danish capital, St. Kjeld’s residents will be safe and dry. That’s because as of December, they live in the world’s first climate-change-adapted neighborhood. “St. Kjeld’s transformation shows what can be done if you take climate change seriously,” says Morten Kabell, Copenhagen’s deputy mayor in charge of environment and technology....

01/26/2015
U.K. Lawmakers Urge Fracking Delay on Water, Climate Risk
Bloomberg: Fracking shale for oil and gas should be put on hold in the U.K. because of risks to public health and the environment, a panel of lawmakers said. A moratorium on fracking is needed to prevent the U.K. from missing its carbon targets and allow time to stiffen regulations for the industry, Parliament’s cross-party Environmental Audit Committee said in a report Monday. It called for measures including a ban on venting methane, public disclosure of chemicals used for hydraulic fracturing, and a regulatory...

01/26/2015
New Spill into Yellowstone River Prompts Pipeline Upgrade Order
Associated Press: Federal regulators on Friday ordered a pipeline company to make major upgrades to a line that spilled almost 40,000 gallons of oil into Montana’s Yellowstone River and fouled a local water supply. The order comes after Bridger Pipeline of Casper, Wyoming, announced plans to bury its line deeper beneath the Yellowstone to protect against future accidents. The Department of Transportation order would make that improvement mandatory and require identical action where the line runs beneath the...

01/26/2015
What Are Republican Going to Do Climate Change?
Christian Science Monitor: When it comes to energy and climate politics, things are heating up on the Senate floor. Debate over amendments to the Senate bill approving the Keystone XL pipeline forced Republicans to put their views on climate change on the record Wednesday, and those votes could have reverberations in this congress and the 2016 presidential race. Other amendments – from boosting offshore drilling to expediting permitting – signal the broader energy issues that pique the interest of the new Senate. In...

01/26/2015
U.S. Rig Count Drops to Lowest Level in Two Years
Fuel Fix: Crude oil producers set aside another 49 oil rigs over the last week and brought the number of rigs looking for oil to its lowest level in two years, according to oil service company Baker Hughes’ weekly count. The total number of onshore and offshore rigs pursuing oil and gas fell by 43 to 1,633. Rigs after oil fell by 49 to 1,317, and rigs pursuing natural gas rose by six to 316. Offshore rigs were unchanged from last week at 54. Since last summer, crude price have collapsed to less than...

01/26/2015
Obama to protect Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Grist: President Obama is picking a big fight with oil-lovin` Republicans, and the green community is delighted. Seems he`s still feeling pugnacious after his State of the Union address last week. For more than 30 years, conservationists have pushed for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to be permanently protected from oil and gas development. Obama now says he wants to do just that. From The Washington Post: The Obama administration will propose setting aside more than 12 million acres in Alaska’s...

01/25/2015
British lawmakers demand freeze on fracking
Agence France-Presse: A committee of British lawmakers demanded a national moratorium on fracking due to environmental concerns on Monday, ahead of a crucial vote intended to boost the shale gas industry. An inquiry by the cross-party Environmental Audit Committee, which examines the effect of government policy on the environment, found the extraction and burning of more fossil fuels was contrary to Britain's pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions. It warned that fracking -- in which water, chemicals and sand are...

01/25/2015
Hedge Funds Bet Oil Will Fall Further
Bloomberg: Hedge funds boosted bearish wagers on oil to a four-year high as U.S. supplies grew the most since 2001. Money managers increased short positions in West Texas Intermediate crude to the highest level since September 2010 in the week ended Jan. 20, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show. Net-long positions slipped for the first time in three weeks. U.S. crude supplies rose by 10.1 million barrels to 397.9 million in the week ended Jan. 16 and the country will pump the most oil since...

01/25/2015
Obama to propose protecting U.S. Arctic wildlife refuge from drilling
Reuters: President Barack Obama will call on Congress to expand protection of Alaska's Arctic refuge where oil and gas drilling is prohibited to 12 million acres (5 million hectares), an area that includes 1.4 million oil-rich acres along the coast. The proposal, unveiled by the Interior Department on Sunday, ran into instant criticism from Republicans and will likely face an uphill battle in Congress, where Republicans now control both chambers. The wilderness designation, the highest level of federal...

01/25/2015
Worry for Solar Projects After End of Tax Credits
New York Times: For more than a year now, an enormous solar thermal power plant has been humming along in the Arizona desert, sending out power as needed, even well after sunset. The plant, called Solana, was developed by the Spanish energy and technology company Abengoa and has succeeded in meeting an elusive solar goal — producing electricity when the sun is not shining — and displacing fossil-fuel-based power in the grid. “With the sun going down at 6 or 7 o’clock at night, all the other forms of solar production...

01/25/2015
Obama in India: PM Narendra Modi, Barack Obama strike alliance on climate change
Economic Times: US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have agreed to team up and combat climate change by cooperating to reduce air pollution in Indian cities and ramping up finance and technology for India's ambitious Rs 6 lakh crore renewable energy push. Obama stressed the importance of India's voice in climate talks and efforts to reach a global agreement on the issue. Modi said India was acting with a sense of responsibility towards future generations, not under international pressure....

01/25/2015
US And India Make Climate Change Announcement On First Day Obama Trip
National Public Radio: President Obama met with India's prime minister on the first day of his second visit to India. NPR's Arun Rath talks with Julie McCarthy about an agreement between the two to tackle climate change.

01/25/2015
Ebola cases are plummeting in West Africa. Is the end in sight?
Vox: There's finally good news on the ongoing struggle to stamp out the world's worst Ebola outbreak: the number of new cases is falling quickly. Ebola diagnoses are now halving every 10 days in Guinea, every 14 days in Liberia, and every 19 days in Sierra Leone, according to the World Health Organization. You can see the downward trends in the three worst-affected countries from a January 21 WHO update: In Guinea, there were 20 confirmed cases reported in the week leading up to January 18, compared...

01/25/2015
Modi no climate change pressure India after US-China pact
Agence France-Presse: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday India was not under pressure on climate change after the US and China signed an emissions deal, but added global warming itself was reason to take action. India, the world's third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, has resisted pressure to commit to a timeline for capping emissions after China and the United States announced a bilateral pact in November. "India is an independent country. There is no pressure as such," Modi said after talks with...

01/25/2015
Obama Proposes New Protections For Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
National Public Radio: The Obama administration is proposing new protections for large portions of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The U.S. Department of Interior says it's the first time it's recommended additional protections and that their new recommendations have the potential to be one of the largest conservation measures "since Congress passed the visionary Wilderness Act over 50 years ago." The Department is recommending that millions more acres of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, including the...

01/25/2015
Doomsday Clock now reads three minutes to 'midnight'
Christian Today: According to a group of experts that monitor threats to humanity, the world is now closer to armageddon than ever. The scientists behind the Doomsday Clock, which aims to reflect how close the world is to man-made destruction, have moved the symbolic clock's minute hand two minutes forward, thereby setting the time to three minutes to midnight. "Unchecked climate change, global nuclear weapons modernisations, and outsized nuclear weapons arsenals pose extraordinary and undeniable threats to...

01/25/2015
Obama Will Move to Protect Vast Arctic Habitat in Alaska
New York Times: President Obama will ask Congress to increase environmental protections for millions of acres of pristine animal habitat in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, in a move that has already led to fierce opposition from the state’s Republican lawmakers. The White House announced Sunday that Mr. Obama would ask Congress to designate 12 million of the refuge’s 19 million acres as wilderness. The wilderness designation is the strongest level of federal protection afforded to public lands, and...

01/25/2015
US And India Announce 'Cooperation' On Climate Change
ThinkProgress: President Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Sunday that the two countries will work together to fight global climate change, laying out a set of goals that the two countries hope "will expand policy dialogues and technical work on clean energy and low greenhouse gas emissions technologies." While not a concrete emissions reductions agreement like the one Obama reached with China this past November, the deal includes efforts to cooperate on reducing emissions of fluorinated...

01/25/2015
Narendra Modi dismisses calls for India to match China's climate goal
LA Times: The United States and India sought to put a contentious history behind them Sunday by declaring a new partnership on climate change, security and economic issues, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi rejected calls for India to match China`s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. As President Obama opened a three-day visit to New Delhi aimed at underscoring the two democracies` shared ideals, Modi`s blunt dismissal of a sweeping climate agreement reflected the limits of Washington`s assiduous...


Did You Know?

It takes 15,000 tons of water to produce one ton of beef or cotton. Whereas, it takes only 300 tons of water to produce the same amount of wheat and soybeans.

 

Website developed by: