ENVIRONMENT AND LIFE

Using green transport can prevent over 38,000 deaths in Africa’s Accra: WHO

Down To Earth | April 02, 2021

Using green transport can save over 38,000 lives in Africa's Accra: WHO. Photo: World Health Organization

Switching to sustainable modes of transportation can prevent around 5,500 premature deaths in Africa’s Accra by reducing air pollution, according to a new report by World Health Organization.

This can be achieved by increasing share of electronic mass transport, encouraging walking and cycling, and thus, reducing the overall use of cars, taxis and other motorcycles that cause air pollution, the report suggested.Read More »

CARBON FOOTPRINT 

J carbon footprint

A Journal of People report

As oil prices rallied and investor confidence in excessively punished oil stocks returned, the world’s oil billionaires became richer in the first quarter of 2021, adding a combined net worth of $51 billion in the first quarter. The energy tycoons from the U.S. to Russia and India boosted their fortunes at the fastest rate of any group in the Bloomberg index.

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a daily ranking of the world’s richest people, U.S. oil tycoon Harold Hamm saw his net worth jump by $3.3 billion year to date to stand at $8.4 billion as of April 2.Read More »

ENVIRONMENT

Humpback whales may have bounced back from near-extinction, but it’s too soon to declare them safe

Olaf Meynecke

The Conversation | April 01, 2021

A pod of humpback whales lunge feeding.
The resurgence of humpback whales is one of conservation’s greatest success stories. Shutterstock

The resurgence in humpback whale populations over the past five decades is hailed as one of the great success stories of global conservation. And right now, the federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment is considering removing the species from Australia’s threatened list.

But humpback whales face new and emerging threats, including climate change. Surveying whales is notoriously hard, and the government has not announced monitoring plans to ensure humpback populations remain strong after delisting. We need a plan to keep them safe.Read More »

ECOLOGY 

Protect fish to produce more food and reduce greenhouse gas

Tim Radford

Climate New Network | March 25 2021

Menhaden catch, destined for use as fertilizer and pet food. (Wikimedia Commons)

Scientists have identified a sure way towards more profitable fishing: don’t do it. Protect fish and leave as much of the seas as possible untouched.

To convert the right stretches of the blue planet into marine sanctuaries would actually deliver bigger hauls than any uncontrolled harvests could promise. It could also protect marine wildlife and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere.Read More »

ENVIRONMENT

The financialization of environment protection

Riccardo De Cristano

Climate and Capitalism | March 11, 2021

“Business as usual is killing us” [1]

Recent years have seen the rise and expansion of new financial instruments aimed to create a positive impact on society. One peculiar instrument, green bonds, is facing enormous growth, and we can notice how it is becoming a popular type of investment.[2] Through its mechanisms, even if a universal definition of what a green bond does not exist, investors can raise profits and provide positive outcomes for the environment.Read More »

CANNABIS 

Colorado’s legal cannabis farms emit more carbon than its coal mines

Krista Charles

New Scientist | March 08, 2021

Cannabis plant
Cannabis is often grown indoors
Cappi Thompson/Getty Images

Legal cannabis production in Colorado emits more greenhouse gases than the state’s coal mining industry, researchers analysing the sector’s energy use have found.

The production and use of cannabis for medical or recreational reasons is now legal in several US states, which has led to a booming industry.

Hailey Summers and her colleagues at Colorado State University have quantified and analysed the greenhouse gas emissions produced by cannabis growers.

They found that emissions varied widely by state, from 2.3 to 5.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per kilogram of dried flower produced.

Read More »

ENVIRONMENT

Think all your plastic is being recycled? New research shows it can end up in the ocean

Monique Retamal, Elsa Dominish, Nick Florin and Rachael Wakefield-Rann

The Conversation | March 03, 2020

Man puts items in binsResearch shows plastic meant for recycling often ends up elsewhere. Shutterstock

We all know it’s wrong to toss your rubbish into the ocean or another natural place. But it might surprise you to learn some plastic waste ends up in the environment, even when we thought it was being recycled.

Our study, published today, investigated how the global plastic waste trade contributes to marine pollution.

We found plastic waste most commonly leaks into the environment at the country to which it’s shipped. Plastics which are of low value to recyclers, such as lids and polystyrene foam containers, are most likely to end up polluting the environment.Read More »

ENVIRONMENT IN INDIA

Chamoli Glacier Burst: Himalayan Blunders Compounded

Sunita Narain

Down To Earth | February 12, 2021

The devastated Rishiganga power project at Tapovan, Uttarakhand. Photo: Manmeet Singh

The devastated Rishiganga power project at Tapovan, Uttarakhand. Photo: Manmeet Singh The devastated Rishiganga power project at Tapovan, Uttarakhand. Photo: Manmeet Singh

The flash flood in high Himalayas, which has claimed lives and wiped out two hydroelectric plants on the Ganga, should be a grim reminder of the mistakes we continue to make. There is no rocket science here about why this devastation happened. The Himalayas are the world’s youngest mountain ranges, prone to erosion and landslides and unstable because of high seismic activity.

This is compounded by the sheer madness — I will explain why I say this — of development, with hydropower projects being built back to back. On top of this, climate change and its resultant warming of glaciers and unseasonal snow and heat are exacerbating conditions in the already fragile ecosystem. On February 7, 2021, the people of Reni village — the birthplace of India’s environmental consciousness as this is where the women stopped the felling of trees — say they heard a loud bang. Read More »

ENVIRONMENT 

Wildlife Trade Imperils Species, Even in Protected Areas

Elizabeth Pennisi

Science | February 11, 2021

A Baird’s tapir forages in a rainforest in Corcovado National Park in Costa Rica. GREG BASCO/MINDEN PICTURES

Wildlife trafficking is having a profound negative impact on biodiversity, a new analysis finds. Hunting and trapping to feed international and national trade networks threaten numerous species, the researchers report, even those living in protected areas.

“This study adds to the growing body of evidence that commercial wildlife trade is a significant threat,” says Scott Roberton, a conservationist in charge of antitrafficking programs at the Wildlife Conservation Society.Read More »

ENVIRONMENT IN SOUTHEAST ASIA

Why Coal-Fired Power Plants in Southeast Asia Are Facing Opposition Heat

Aleena Thomas

Down To Earth | February 07, 2021

Southeast Asia’s electricity consumption is projected to more than double of 961 terawatt-hour by 2040 owing to significant demographic and economic growth. On the power supply side, coal has played a key role.

But the world is aiming to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial standards, and coal cannot continue to be used excessively. It will have to be replaced by renewable energy sources or clean coal technologies with better energy efficiency.Read More »