Category: Environment

Paris Agreement passes first stress test at COP22

In response to the close of COP22, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, leader of WWF International’s Climate & Energy Practice, issued the following statement:

“The UN climate talks continue to be filled with twists and turns, but they have delivered what they needed to this week – putting substance behind the promise of the Paris Agreement so it can be fully implemented. The Marrakech work has not been the most glamorous, but it’s a key step in the chain reaction needed to roll out the agreement.

Asian infrastructure boom could be end of the road for tigers

With massive infrastructure plans threatening all tiger landscapes and risking recent gains in tiger conservation, Asian governments must adopt a sustainable approach to infrastructure planning and construction or drive tigers toward extinction, according to a new analysis by WWF.

Released at the halfway point of an ambitious global effort to double the number of wild tigers between 2010 and 2022, The Road Ahead: Protecting Tigers from Asia’s Infrastructure Development Boom highlights the unprecedented threat posed by a vast network of planned infrastructure across the continent.

Hitting New Highs: North Pole Experiencing Record Heat Wave

As polar night has covered the Arctic, it is supposed to be extremely cold there. But on the contrary, it is super-hot by polar standards, with temperatures hitting new highs.

“Today’s latest #Arctic mean temperature continues to move the wrong direction. . . up. Quite an anomalous spike!” said Zack Labe, a PhD student at the University of California at Irvine who studies the Arctic, on Twitter.

As temperature has increased to about 36 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than usual, the extent of sea ice has decreased.

Liberian Land Rights Defenders on the Run after Threats from Police

Mr. Alfred Brownell, a campaigner for the land rights of Liberia’s local communities, and his staff at Green Advocates have gone underground after threats from the police. Warrants have been issued, and, at present, the staff of Green Advocates are in hiding, in response to the imminent threat of their arrest. This is the latest in a long history of threats, intimidation, and harassment against human rights defenders in Liberia.

Mr. Brownell is the founder of Green Advocates, an organization working with impoverished rural communities to protect their rights to the lands and natural resources they depend on. He and his colleagues are renowned internationally as advocates for community rights, and for ensuring that the rights of Liberian citizens are respected in the country’s pursuit of economic development.

“Liberia’s laws and constitution ensure that rural communities have a right to be consulted on development initiatives that affect their lands and livelihoods. Yet, that is not happening on a large scale. And when people stand up for their rights, all too often they face threats and violence,” said Mr. Brownell. “I will continue to stand with them any way I can.”

Tanzanian president leads crackdown on elephant poaching

While inspecting the country’s seized ivory stockpile this week, Tanzanian President Dr John Pombe Magufuli ordered law enforcement officials to crack down on elephant poaching and trafficking syndicates.

“We are not going to allow our natural resources to be depleted,” Magufuli said, while offering federal security agencies his full support and urging them to “arrest all those involved in this illicit trade.”

Dakota Access Pipeline Protests Put Right to Water at Center Stage

Since August, over 400 people have been arrested protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline –140 in the last week alone. This after the tribe sued the federal government in July, stating that they were not properly consulted about the construction project.

One underlying reason for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s opposition to the construction of the oil pipeline is the tribe’s concern about safe drinking water. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe lawsuit argues that the US government failed to properly consider the potential risks of the pipeline construction to the source of the Tribe’s drinking water.

Courts have twice denied the tribe’s request to stop the pipeline construction for now, agreeing with the government’s position that the Tribe was not sufficiently able to show that they were likely to win their lawsuit.

World’s food and energy systems key to tackling global biodiversity decline

Global wildlife could plunge to a 67 per cent level of decline in just the fifty-year period ending this decade as a result of human activities, according to WWF’s Living Planet Report 2016. The report shows how people are overpowering the planet for the first time in Earth’s history and highlights the changes needed in the way society is fed and fuelled.

According to the report, global populations of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles have already declined by 58 per cent between 1970 and 2012, the most recent year with available data. This places the world on a trajectory of a potential two-thirds decline within a span of the half-century ending in 2020.

Fortunately, 2020 is also a year of great promise. In that same year, commitments made under the Paris climate deal will kick in, and the first environmental actions under the globe’s new sustainable development plan are due. If implemented, these measures, along with meeting international biodiversity targets set for 2020, can help achieve the reforms needed in the world’s food and energy systems to protect wildlife across the globe.

The most threatened ecosystem you’ve never heard of

What covers up to 600,000 square kilometers (230,000 square miles) of Earth’s surface, provides benefits worth an estimated US$570 billion or more each year, and is rapidly being lost due to human activity?

If you have not a clue, you’re far from alone. Scientists who study the underwater feature known as a seagrass meadow call it a “marginalized ecosystem” that ranks with coral reefs and mangrove swamps as among the most endangered marine habitats but is “often overlooked, regarded as merely an innocuous feature of the ocean.”

Belize offshore seismic testing suspended after outcry

The longest barrier reef in the northern hemisphere has received a reprieve from seismic surveying, WWF has learned. Officials in Belize agreed to suspend the seismic portion of offshore oil exploration an after an outcry from concerned citizens, national civil society groups and international conservation organizations and their supporters.

The survey began on Wednesday, 19 October, a day earlier than had been publicly announced, and was scheduled to reach just over one kilometre from the country’s fragile World Heritage site. However, the government of Belize on Thursday instructed surveyors to “cease seismic operations immediately.”

New Species Of Psychedelic Lichen Discovered In South America

Just when you thought psychedelic ventures couldn’t get weirder, a curve ball whips past. Researchers deep in Ecuador have discovered a new, mysterious species of psychedelic lichen. A cacophony of compounds exist within the species, renowned for cryptic effects on human consciousness.

This new species, Evolve Ascend reports, is the only known lichen to harbor psychedelic properties. Lichens are intriguing in that they exist due to a symbiotic, mutually beneficial algae-fungi relationship. Lichens are a kind of composite organism, making it all the more interesting that one is trip-capable.

A different kind of bank

The fossil fuel divestment movement argues that where we invest our money either helps move toward a cleaner future or props up polluting industries that are driving climate change.

Now government agencies are taking that idea to the next level by proactively encouraging investment in renewable energy and energy-efficiency projects. Called green banks, they are not banks as we typically think of them. They do not accept deposits from individuals, and they aren’t private institutions. Instead, green banks are government run and aim to leverage limited public funds by attracting private capital to these projects.

Anti-pipeline action targets Kelcy Warren’s borderland hideout

There may have been a snarling dog in the patrol truck in the play-Western “town” of the Lajitas Golf Resort, but it was an Indian dog, the deputy said. As for the man waving an American Indian Movement flag near the main offices of the multi-million-dollar resort shouting that its billionaire owner, Kelcy Warren, CEO of Energy Transfer Partners, was a “criminal” and an “evil man”?

Zika Virus Pesticides Wiping Out Bees, BioTech Industrial Complex Booming

Honey bee populations, after having dwindled over the last couple decades, have just taken a turn for the worst. Pesticides sprayed to kill mosquitoes suspected of carrying zika virus purged millions of bees from America. Now they’re being considered for the endangered species list, and few are talking about any of it. Not only that, but Zika fear is now fueling a pesticide spouting, water tainting, genetically modified mosquito breeding, corporate biotech industrial complex.

Zika pesticide has been sprayed across several states, including South Carolina and Florida, over the last month or so. The pesticide, called Naled, is being used to kill a specific species of mosquito which carries the virus. Similar poisons have been used in South America, where the virus is spreading.

Sierra Club Releases Interactive #ToxicTrade Map

Trans-Pacific and Transatlantic Trade Deals Would Empower World’s Largest Polluters

After trade took center stage in the first presidential debate earlier this week, the Sierra Club today released a new map that reveals the coast-to-coast environmental threats of two pending trade deals — the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) — showcasing for the first time what the Sierra Club calls #ToxicTrade.

The Clean Power Plan and Inequality

An appeals court will rule on the legality of Obama’s plan, which could narrow economic gaps by lowering energy costs and creating jobs.

Lawyers for a coalition of states and businesses reliant on fossil fuels made their case September 27 to a federal appeals court that President Barack Obama’s plan to curtail climate-warming greenhouse gases is an unlawful power grab.11830516643_561ab36dd5_m-2

The Clean Power Plan is by no means perfect, but it has the potential to benefit American families, especially low-income people and people of color. These households are disproportionately affected by fossil fuel-fired power plants and the effects of climate change.