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Age: President Barack Obama could leave office with the most aggressive, far-reaching environmental legacy of any previous occupant of the White House. Yet it is very likely that not a single major environmental law will have passed during his two terms in Washington. Instead, Obama has turned to the vast reach of the Clean Air Act of 1970, which some legal experts call the most powerful environmental law in the world. Faced with a Congress that has shut down his attempts to push through an environmental...
Posted: November 28, 2014, 6:00 am
Guardian: Melbourne’s leading renewable energy companies have cut nearly one in 10 jobs over the past year owing to uncertainty in the sector, according to an environment group that is calling on Victorian Labor to implement a state-based renewables target if it wins power. A survey of 15 clean energy businesses found that overall job numbers fell from 556 in 2013 to 507 in 2014, representing a 9% drop. Friends of the Earth, which conducted the poll, said the job losses were due to uncertainty about...
Posted: November 28, 2014, 4:31 am
BBC: Imagine the trouble that would ensue if China resorted to desperate measures to cool its climate but the result was that the Indian Monsoon suddenly failed. Or that India tried to head off a rise in temperatures only to find that Pakistan suffered from massive flooding. Or that the United States took drastic action to fight global warming and then saw that great tracts of Africa were suddenly left without any rain. These are some of the nightmare scenarios conjured up by the latest thinking...
Posted: November 28, 2014, 1:49 am
Nature World: Here's something you may not have known: tropical coral reefs are constantly building up and breaking down. In healthy ecosystems, the building will outpace the breakdown, keeping reefs growing and sturdy even as their erosion feeds predators (like worms and the unusual parrotfish). However, in recent years, researchers have begun to worry that in the wake of elevated levels of ocean acidity our reefs are eroding faster than they can grow. Extensive records have shown that one of the most iconic...
Posted: November 27, 2014, 7:06 pm
Business Times: New Zealand's infrastructure on low-lying areas and coastal properties are under threat from sea level rises as much as 30 centimetres. A new environment report has warned that rising sea levels due to global warming will have a significant impact to the people of New Zealand. A storm cloud passes over bathers who prepare to leave Sydney's Manly Beach during an afternoon storm March 5, 2014. The storm, which generated little rain but high gusts of wind, was blown out to sea. In a report released...
Posted: November 27, 2014, 6:59 pm
Deutsche Welle: At the upcoming UN climate change meeting in Lima (COP 20), African groups are hoping that progress can be made towards the goal of reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions. COP 20 - the acronym for the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change - begins in Lima, Peru, on December 1, 2014. It is seen by environmental experts as a crucial springboard to COP 21 in Paris a year later, where it is hoped a binding and universal agreement on limiting the effects...
Posted: November 27, 2014, 5:53 pm
EcoWatch: Unless you’ve been living in a hole in the ground or in a galaxy far, far away you won’t have missed media revelations about government security services snooping on our every communication. Personal phone calls and e-mails are among the data routinely scooped up and stored for possible later scrutiny. It makes a mockery of the notion of personal privacy. As private citizens we express, or suppress, our outrage and get on with our day-to-day lives. We call, text and mail our nearest and dearest...
Posted: November 27, 2014, 5:16 pm
Climate Central: It's nearly time for a reboot on global climate action. The Kyoto Protocol of 2008 through 2012 succeeded in introducing the world to the concept of coordinated climate action. Aside from creating a weak European carbon market, however, it did little to actually ratchet greenhouse gas levels. Nations that met their obligations under the protocol did so with the help of economic downturns. The U.S. never ratified the pact. Canada eventually withdrew, avoiding repercussions for the climate-changing...
Posted: November 27, 2014, 5:05 pm
Beijing Review: The UN Climate Conference in Lima comes on the heels of China and the U.S. reaching a major agreement on climate change at the APEC Summit in Beijing earlier this month. As part of that deal, the Chinese side has agreed to cap its carbon-emission growth by 2030, on top of generating one-fifth of its power through renewable sources by that same time. "It's 16 years before 2030. There will be many uncertainties ahead, including economic and social development and resources. I believe the goal...
Posted: November 27, 2014, 5:04 pm
Guardian: An international deal on global warming must have legally binding targets, Europe will argue at a UN climate summit in Peru next week. The Lima conference is intended to deliver the first draft of an accord to cut carbon emissions and stave off dangerous climate change, which is expected to be signed at a UN conference in Paris next year. Speaking on condition of anonymity, a senior EU official in Brussels said that the bloc had not abandoned its position that any agreement on emissions cuts...
Posted: November 27, 2014, 4:28 pm
RTCC: Countries around the world are developing an array of different carbon taxes and trading systems to control greenhouse gas emissions. The more these can be joined up, experts say, the cheaper it will be to tackle climate change. This argument is gaining ground among businesses and developed economies, but advocates fear anti-capitalist Latin American states could use UN climate negotiations to block it. Dirk Forrister, CEO of the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), says there...
Posted: November 27, 2014, 3:00 pm
RTCC: The global mood on climate change is shifting, but there’s little sign that the proposed 2015 agreement will be enough to avert dangerous levels of warming. Envoys from over 190 countries meet in Lima, Peru next week to continue work on efforts to slow greenhouse gas emissions, which the World Meteorological Organisation says are rising faster than ever before . They will arrive with warnings from leading scientists that nearly 1.5C of warming is already locked into the atmosphere, potentially...
Posted: November 27, 2014, 3:00 pm
LiveScience: Beginning on December 1, representatives from nearly 200 countries will meet in Lima, Peru, to forge progress on global climate-change policy, an effort that could well determine the success of future negotiations on critical climate change issues. While a great deal of attention among environmental scientists, climate change activists and policymakers focuses on the critical, upcoming 2015 Paris conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), 2014 is not yet...
Posted: November 27, 2014, 3:00 pm
Guardian: If humans are driving earth’s sixth great extinction event, coral reefs will be one of the first and most visible ecosystems to succumb. Scientists estimate that by 2050, the ocean could be largely devoid of reefs as climate change and our relentless plundering of the sea set in motion geological changes not seen for millions of years. But according to the Catlin Seaview Survey, a multi-year project to map the world’s coral reefs, there may be evidence that certain reefs in the Coral Triangle...
Posted: November 27, 2014, 2:08 pm
Xinhua: Some 10,000 delegates attending a UN climate change conference in the Peruvian capital of Lima next month will get around in ecological cars, the state Andina news agency reported Wednesday. A total of 171 electric and hybrid cars, worth 10.2 million U.S. dollars, will shuttle participants to the upcoming conference on Dec. 1-12, the report said. The use of the "green" cars is an example of Peru's efforts in cutting greenhouse gas emissions that accelerate global warming, Peruvian Foreign Minister...
Posted: November 27, 2014, 2:00 pm
Washington Post: As the erstwhile icon of climate change, polar bears have been a very … political subject. Conservatives love to lambaste Al Gore over his claims about drowning polar bears in his 2006 film An Inconvenient Truth. The Department of the Interior even launched an investigation into a U.S. researcher who had authored a 2006 study describing several polar bear drownings (he later reached a $ 100,000 settlement with the agency). Meanwhile, politics aside, the habitat in which polar bears live -- the...
Posted: November 27, 2014, 2:00 pm
Telegraph: Today's children will face deadly heatwaves which could kill thousands more people by the end of the century, the Royal Society has warned. If governments do not get a handle on global warming by 2100, Britain will experience three times as many heatwaves as it does now with the death toll rising Around 2,000 people die each year in the UK because of hot weather, with the elderly at most risk. But that could rise to at least 6,000 in the next century and probably higher because the percentage...
Posted: November 27, 2014, 2:00 pm
New Republic: The Supreme Court agreed on Tuesday to review an Environmental Protection Agency regulation limiting how much mercury, arsenic, and other pollutants coal-fired power plants can emit. The case is clearly important because of the health benefits--humans exposed to mercury are at risk for a host of health conditions--but there is another issue at stake. The rule, known as the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard, (MATS) will help determine how many coal plants retire over the next few years, making it a...
Posted: November 27, 2014, 2:00 pm
Associated Press: Deforestation in the Amazon rain forest dropped 18% over the past 12 months, falling to the second-lowest level in a quarter century, Brazil's environment minister said on Wednesday. Izabella Teixeira told participants at a news conference that 4 848 square kilometres of rain forest were destroyed between August 2013 and July 2014. That's a bit larger than the US state of Rhode Island. The figures were down from 5 891 square kilometres razed during the same period a year earlier, in the wake...
Posted: November 27, 2014, 2:00 pm
Fast Company: The people of Kirbati might not sink under the waves, but they will nevertheless have to become more mobile, and new kinds of housing designs can help. Kiribati, an island nation in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, is one of the earliest clear-cut victims of climate change. The highest points on the main island are no more than two meters above sea level. Earlier this year, the president of Kiribati made headlines for spending $8.7 million on a piece of land in Fiji as a place to send climate...
Posted: November 27, 2014, 2:00 pm
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