Failing our forests: in two years we’ve lost enough trees to cover Spain

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/12/22 - 6:16am

Fire. Oil palm. Cattle. Soy. Rubber. Wood. New data from Global Forest Watch shows that forest destruction is on the rise globally, in spite of a slate of pledges and commitments.

Two years ago the world signed the Paris Agreement to combat climate change. It included specific pledges to “conserve and enhance” the world’s forests in order to combat rising temperatures. But in the last two years – 2015 and 2016 – we’ve lost enough trees to cover 493,716 square kilometres, according to satellite data recently released by Global Forest Watch (GFW). This is nearly equal to the entirety of Spain – or about four Englands.

Currently, deforestation accounts for around 10-15% of annual global carbon emissions. Even as combating deforestation has long been seen as one of the cheapest ways to tackle global warming, GFW’s data shows just how far we have to go.

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Categories: Environment

New highways in remote Amazon risk ‘ethnocide’, say Peruvians

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/12/22 - 6:13am

Indigenous federations, state entities and congresspeople speak out against proposed law promoting road construction

Indigenous federations and other Peruvians have responded fiercely to a proposed law promoting the construction of highways in some of the remotest parts of the Peruvian Amazon near the border with Brazil. A series of “protected natural areas”, including four national parks, and five reserves for indigenous peoples living in “isolation” could ultimately be impacted.

Local, regional and national federations - together with NGOs, relevant state entities and congresspeople - have spoken out against or expressed concern about the proposed law. The main claims: it poses serious threats to the forests, biodiversity and indigenous peoples living in “isolation” and “initial contact”, and it contravenes Peruvian and international laws, trade agreements with the US and European Union, Peru’s international climate change commitments, recommendations by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and a request made by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

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Categories: Environment

Climate Change Likely To Increase Volcanic Eruptions, Scientists Say

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2017/12/22 - 4:29am

A recent study in the journal Geology says glacial ice has an impact on the behavior of magma below the Earth's surface. It finds a correlation between a warmer climate and more volcanic activity.

(Image credit: Ivan Damanik/AFP/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Trump's Busy Year On Energy And Environment

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2017/12/22 - 3:01am

President Trump and a trio of cabinet members have made headway in their campaign for American fossil fuel "energy dominance." This might slow renewable energy, but it won't bring back coal.

(Image credit: Mead Gruver/AP)

Categories: Environment

Idaho Gets A 'Dark Sky Reserve'

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2017/12/22 - 2:55am

Just over 14,000 square miles of central Idaho have been designated a "Dark Sky Reserve" for committing to preserving a pristine night sky by limiting light pollution.

Categories: Environment

UN poised to move ahead with landmark treaty to protect high seas

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/12/22 - 2:30am

Waters outside national boundaries are currently unregulated, devastated by overfishing and pollution. 140 countries back the motion to establish a treaty

The world’s oceans are set for a long overdue boost in the coming days as the United Nations votes for the first time on a planned treaty to protect and regulate the high seas.

The waters outside national maritime boundaries – which cover half of the planet’s surface – are currently a free-for-all that has led to devastating overfishing and pollution.

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Categories: Environment

Make supermarkets and drinks firms pay for plastic recycling, say MPs

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/12/21 - 11:30pm

Environmental audit committee recommends adoption of ‘polluter pays’ principle, as well as backing deposit return scheme and public water fountains

Supermarkets, retailers and drinks companies should be forced to pay significantly more towards the recycling of the plastic packaging they sell, an influential committee of MPs has said.

Members of the environmental audit committee called for a societal change in the UK to reduce the 7.7bn plastic water bottles used each year, and embed a culture of carrying reusable containers which are refilled at public water fountains and restaurants, cafes, sports centres and fast food outlets.

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Categories: Environment

New Zealand gives Mount Taranaki same legal rights as a person

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/12/21 - 10:18pm

The sacred mountain in the North Island is the third geographic feature in the country to be granted a ‘legal personality’

Mount Taranaki in New Zealand is to be granted the same legal rights as a person, becoming the third geographic feature in the country to be granted a “legal personality”.

Eight local Māori tribes and the government will share guardianship of the sacred mountain on the west coast of the North Island, in a long-awaited acknowledgement of the indigenous people’s relationship to the mountain, who view it as an ancestor and whanau, or family member.

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Categories: Environment
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