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Updated: 44 weeks 5 days ago

China joins Arctic Council but a decision on the EU is deferred

Wed, 05/15/2013 - 11:01
BBC: China is one of a number of countries that has gained permanent observer status on the Arctic Council. At a meeting in Sweden, the eight members of the Council accepted India, Italy, Japan, South Korea and Singapore. However following dissent from Canada, a decision on the EU's application has been deferred. The permanent observers have no decision making powers. The opening up of the Arctic to shipping and oil and gas exploitation has fuelled worldwide interest in the region. With...
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UK claims fish dumping ban success

Wed, 05/15/2013 - 06:13
BBC: The UK says it has agreed new laws with the European Union over the controversial dumping of unwanted fish. Fisheries minister Richard Benyon said the "reforms" would make discards "a thing of the past". But green groups were less upbeat, saying the European Parliament's plans on fishing reform were more ambitious. After marathon talks, EU fisheries ministers agreed on a reform package including a ban on dumping pelagic fish, such as mackerel and herring. Mr Benyon said the next step...
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First grey whale spotted south of the Equator

Tue, 05/14/2013 - 11:58
Guardian: Astonishing news from Walvis Bay, Namibia, where scientists from the Namibian Dolphin Project on Tuesday confirmed the sighting of a grey whale. Not only has this North Pacific species been extinct in the Atlantic since the 18th century, it has never been seen south of the Equator. The signficance of this sighting is creating excitement among marine biologists. It may suggest good news – that the great whales are recovering from the disastrous hunts of the 20th century. Or it may indicate that...
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Peru spares Amazon rainforest from oil and gas push

Tue, 05/14/2013 - 11:44
Guardian: Peru has announced a bidding round for new oil and gas concessions but, contrary to what was initially expected, none of them are in the Amazon rainforest. Nine concessions are to be auctioned, energy company Perupetro declared recently, but all of them are offshore along Peru's Pacific Ocean coast. This constitutes a significant change of plan by Perupetro which last September issued a statement that before the end of 2012 36 new concessions would be established. According to a presentation...
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Cigarette butts littering UK beaches doubled in 2012, figures show

Tue, 05/14/2013 - 09:30
Press Association: The number of cigarette butts littering UK beaches doubled last year, while other rubbish from smoking including lighters and packets increased by 90%, according to a survey that raises that concerns anti-littering campaigns are failing to make an impact. Plastic rubbish including sweet and lolly wrappers also rose by 3% in 2012 compared to 2011, the annual count of litter on UK beaches in the Marine Conservation Society's (MCS) beachwatch big weekend showed. Almost two-thirds (65%) of the...
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Climate Refugees?

Tue, 05/14/2013 - 08:00
Islands Business: Threats of landslides have delayed the relocation plans of two coastal villages that have been badly affected by coastline loss and frequent sea flooding. The Fiji Government has set aside more than half a million dollars for the relocation of Narikoso village in Kadavu and Vunidogoloa village on Natewa Bay in Vanua Levu. “Planning on moving the village of Narikoso in Ono, Kadavu, went very well until it was discovered that the land on the new village site has stability issues,” explains Colonel...
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Climate change to halve habitat for over 10,000 common species

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 15:01
Mongabay: Even as concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere hit 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time in human history last week, a new study in Nature Climate Change warns that thousands of the world's common species will suffer grave habitat loss under climate change. "While there has been much research on the effect of climate change on rare and endangered species, little has been known about how an increase in global temperature will affect more common species," says lead author Rachel...
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Reef saving efforts turn to Caribbean

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 14:00
Australian Broadcasting Corporation: University of Queensland researchers have been studying other coral systems to see how damage to the Great Barrier Reef can be averted. Researchers have studied climate modelling and data on reefs in the Caribbean. Professor Peter Mumby says his findings show with proper management, the loss of coral can be delayed by at least a decade. But Professor Mumby says steps need to be taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. "Some people have asked is it even worth trying to take strong action locally,...
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EU's 'wasteful' fish discards policy nears the end of the line

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 11:45
Guardian: Crucial negotiations in Brussels in the next few days will decide one of the thorniest European environmental issues of the past four decades – the wasteful practice of throwing millions of healthy fish back into the sea each year after they have been caught, because of the way the EU's quotas are managed. A ban on discards has gathered huge public backing since Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, the chef and food writer, made it a personal campaign more than two years ago, highlighting the waste of...
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Gas finds in east Mediterranean may change strategic balance

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 11:23
BBC: For decades, it seemed that most countries of the Levant, east of the Mediterranean Sea, had little or no share of the Middle East's abundant energy resources. Israelis even had a joke about how Moses led his people through the desert for 40 years to reach the one place in the region with no oil. But in the past few years, there have been offshore discoveries of gas and possibly oil that look set to open up new economic possibilities. In future, they could also redefine strategic relationships....
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The battle for Drake’s Bay

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 11:00
Grist: It`s springtime at the Point Reyes National Seashore, about an hour outside of San Francisco, and the cold wind whips off the sea and through the tall grass along the cliffs. Cows wander and graze along the fingers of land that reach out into the estuary’s tiny bays, an area altogether encompassing just over three square miles. Beyond the estuary, at the outer edges of the seashore, seals sun themselves on the beaches, packed in tightly and squirming along the shoreline. From March through...
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Science proves what we all know: Nature is Good for your Health!

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 10:29
Ecologist: A walk in the park can calm and restore you. This is something we take for granted in parks and recreation, because we have known it to be true ever since we started spending time in nature. But new research reported in the British Journal of Sports Medicine now provides scientific proof that walking in nature and spending time under leafy shade trees causes electrochemical changes in the brain that can lead people to enter a highly beneficial state of "effortless attention.' The UK researchers...
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Cities need the resilience to face future Sandys

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 09:59
Bloomberg: Whether or not Hurricane Sandy had a connection to climate change, climate change will make future Hurricane Sandys more common, imposing enormous costs on cities. Since we seem to lack the will to reduce this threat by cutting greenhouse-gas emissions, we should at least make ourselves more resilient to severe weather. So it's encouraging to see cities and states worldwide work on better protecting themselves from storms. Rotterdam, for one, has set a goal of being "climate-proof" by 2025....
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Australia: Great Barrier Reef is at risk even if it doesn't make Unesco's danger list

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 09:58
Guardian: It might be regarded as some sort of sick joke that the Great Barrier Reef happens to nestle beside the heart of Australia's fossil fuel export boom. When the coal ships leave the Queensland ports, the two become one as the captains make passage through the 2300 kilometre/1430 mile-long reef – the world's largest. Now environment groups and the United Nations World Heritage Committee have decided this joke just isn't funny any more. WWF Australia, the Australian Marine Conservation Society...
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United Kingdom: Shipping chemical 'unsafe for birds'

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 09:58
BBC: Wildlife charities are calling for tighter regulations to protect seabirds from a group of chemicals that caused hundreds of seabirds to be washed up off the south coast of England. The number of seabirds affected by the recent spill of polyisobutene (PIB) has now reached 4,000, said the RSPB. The sticky chemical is used as a lubricant in ships' engines. It is also moved in large quantities, as it is used to make chewing gum, adhesive tape and sealants. The organisations are appealing...
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One-third of animal species will be hit by climate change, scientists warn

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 09:17
Guardian: One-third of common land animals could see dramatic losses this century because of climate change, scientists predict. More than half of plants could be hit the same way as habitats become unsuitable for numerous species. The collapse of ecosystems would have major economic impacts on agriculture, air quality, clean water access, and tourism. Global temperatures are set to rise 4C above preindustrial levels by 2100 if nothing is done to stem greenhouse gas emissions. This could have a...
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USA holds key to aviation emissions deal

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 08:59
RTCC: United Nations negotiations to contain emissions from planes and ships recommence in Montreal and London this week, with hopes for a global climate change deal in 2015 resting on these two sectors. Only China, USA, India and Russia emit more atmosphere-warming greenhouse gases than the global contribution of shipping and aviation, which tops 1.6 bn tonnes of CO2 a year. These talks are difficult given the limited alternatives to each mode of transport and increasing demand around the planet....
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Dalai Lama: Cultivate Inner Peace to Save the Planet

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 08:31
Environment News Service: "The main thing is the oneness of humanity," His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, said during an environmental summit Saturday in Portland. "In 1959 I came from Tibet and escaped to India. Now the whole world has some problems, but there is no other place to escape," he told an audience of 11,000 people. "Environmental protection, taking care of our world, is like taking care of our own home. This is our only home, so we have to take care, and not only for our generation." The Dalai...
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Denmark: Naval activity may contribute to porpoise strandings

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 07:32
PlanetEarth: Sonar used by the navy may cause porpoises to get trapped in fishing nets and killed, according to a recent study. Research into the reasons for a mass standing of harbour porpoises on the Danish coast in 2005 found a possible link between the presence of the navy and the number of porpoises stranded. During nine days in April 2005, an unprecedented 85 harbour porpoises were washed up dead along 100km of the Danish coast. Since the average number of porpoises stranded in the whole of Denmark...
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Why a Hotter World Will Mean More Extinctions

Mon, 05/13/2013 - 02:50
Times: The end of last week saw the carbon concentrations in the atmosphere finally pass the 400-part-per-million threshold. That means carbon levels are higher now than they`ve been for at least 800,000 years, and most likely far longer. There`s nothing special per se about 400 parts per million -- other than giving all of us a change to note it in article like this one -- but it`s a reminder that we are headed very fast into a very uncertain future. Parts per million and global temperature change,...
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