Environment Correspondent
Deborah's Feed
May 29, 2011

Stoves, seeds could save African forests: report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Efficient cookstoves and better crop seeds could play a key role in saving forests in sub-Saharan Africa, helping to cut emissions of climate-warming carbon dioxide, environmental experts reported on Sunday.

This is important, since deforestation and forest degradation are the second-largest source of human-caused carbon dioxide emissions after the burning of fossil fuels. While forests stand, they take in and lock up carbon dioxide; when they burn, they release it into the atmosphere.

May 27, 2011

Atlantic bluefin tuna on U.S. environmental watchlist

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government put the Atlantic bluefin tuna on an environmental watchlist as a “species of concern” on Friday, and will keep checking for any impact on these fish from the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

At this time, the species is not threatened or endangered and so will not be listed as such under the Endangered Species Act, which would trigger immediate protections, officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in a telephone briefing.

May 25, 2011

Seafood fraud hurts ocean conservation: report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. seafood fraud — where farmed, imported or endangered fish is sold as wild, local and sustainably-managed — is hurting efforts to preserve ocean diversity, conservation advocates said on Wednesday.

The widespread practice is also hitting consumers who are occasionally sold cheaper or even dangerous products at premium prices, according to the marine conservation group Oceana.

May 18, 2011

U.S. weather extremes show ‘new normal’ climate

WASHINGTON, May 18 (Reuters) – Heavy rains, deep snowfalls,
monster floods and killing droughts are signs of a “new normal”
of extreme U.S. weather events fueled by climate change,
scientists and government planners said on Wednesday.

“It’s a new normal and I really do think that global
weirding is the best way to describe what we’re seeing,”
climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe of Texas Tech University
told reporters.

May 18, 2011
via Environment Forum

The Beer-Water Nexus


Does the path to clean, safe water lead through a brewery?

Andy Wales, head of sustainable development at global brewer SABMiller, maintains it can happen.  The maker of Miller beer — and 20 other brands, from Aguila in Colombia to Zolotaya Bochka Klassicheskoye in Russia — likes the environmental angle, but the main impetus is to ensure production of their products in what is a highly variable business from location to location.

“Water is obviously a critical part of high quality beer,” Wales said by telephone from London. One important part of this equation is figuring out how to use less water and still make good beer.

May 16, 2011

Environmental groups question Obama’s forest plan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An Obama administration plan to protect wildlife and water in U.S. national forests drew fire on Monday from environmental advocates who contend the new rule needs stronger scientific standards.

As it stands now, the proposed Forest Planning Rule gives too much discretion to individual managers of the 155 forests and grasslands that cover 193 million acres (78 million hectares) of public territory, a former U.S. wildlife official said in a telephone briefing.

May 12, 2011
via Environment Forum

Mail a letter, save a tiger?


If the world gets saved one small act at a time, the U.S. Postal Service and the Wildlife Conservation Society may be onto something. They’ve just unveiled a new stamp that aims to make protection of endangered species as easy as mailing a letter.

The new Save Vanishing Species stamp costs 55 cents, 11 cents more than a regular first class stamp. It features the face of a tiger cub, and net proceeds contribute to projects supported by the Multinational Species Conservation Funds, which are administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. These projects work to conserve tigers, rhinos, great apes, marine turtles and African and Asian elephants.

May 11, 2011
via Environment Forum

Enviro-word of the moment: Anthropocene


A word has entered the language — at least, the language of environmental concern — that may be ready for prime-time. That word is Anthropocene. It’s the epoch we’re apparently living in, roughly translated as the Age of Man. The theory behind the name is that human beings have made such an impact on Earth’s geology that we should have an era named for us that differentiates this time from the tired old Holocene period.

Holocene means “entirely new,” but it’s been some 10,000 years since it started. Scientists and others meeting in London figure it may be time to move on.

May 10, 2011

Deal aims to cut endangered species red tape

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Animals and plants that may deserve protection under the Endangered Species Act moved closer to getting help under a legal settlement plan announced on Tuesday by the government and environmentalists.

The plan, which followed a legal battle between the government and the environmental group WildEarth Guardians, aims to cut legal and bureaucratic red tape that has kept 251 species from being officially listed as endangered or threatened, clearing the way for government protection.

May 10, 2011
via Environment Forum

Did human activities cause the Mississippi River flood?


As the Mississippi River crested at near-record levels near Memphis, Tennessee, a nagging question surfaced at a Capitol Hill briefing: are people to blame? According to one expert on water and hydrology, the answer is closer to yes than no.

“I’m not suggesting these (floods) are caused by climate change, but there’s very clear scientific evidence that the risk of flooding on the Mississippi River is increasing because of human influence,” said Peter Gleick, president of the California-based Pacific Institute.

    • About Deborah

      "I started with Reuters in 1986 in New York City, moving to Washington DC two years later. I've covered the Winter Olympics in Calgary and Salt Lake City, a couple wars, the State Department, White House, Pentagon, several long trials and a presidential sex scandal. Since 2006, I've been reporting on the environment and climate change."
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