IFCE Global Environmental Weekly Events [8/31 - 9/6/2018]

Release time:2018-09-17

1.UK’s green watchdog will be powerless over climate change post-Brexit

Environmentalists concern the UK government weak environmental regulations by using withdrawal of EU. The UK government will restructure its domestic institution for edging out the European Commission. However, the government leaves out climate change policy, leading to its green watchdog will be powerless over climate change.

Greener UK, the biggest environmental organizations in the UK, assume that green watchdogs pay limited attention to climate change policy. Before the Brexit, the European Commission plays a significant role in the UK’s environmental regulations. For example, there are  55% of the UK’s carbon reduction projects and plans are enforced by the European Commission. The membership of the European Union guarantees the implementation of those carbon reduction projects. Furthermore, the UK government need to maintain its essential role in global climate change area post-Brexit.

Shane Tomlinson who is the director at E3G said: “The UK public deserves to have a green watchdog, enforcing climate policy and ensuring the UK’s pledges become reality.” Currently, this issue has been undertaken by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Souce: The Guardian

2.Fears over protected wildlife disturbed by drones

Protected wildlife being disturbed by drones. They say some drones are being flown dangerously close to breed Police and wildlife experts are becoming "increasingly concerned" at the number of cases of ing birds and animals at sites in Scotland. Seals have reportedly been chased into the sea at protected haul-out sites, which risks their pups being crushed. Concerns are also being raised about nesting birds becoming panicked and plummeting off cliffs into the sea.

The Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime (PAW) Scotland said it is important drone operators understand the law. Some sites are given a special status which makes disturbance - even accidentally - a crime.

Andy Turner, wildlife crime officer with Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH)"While the footage from drones in these circumstances can be very spectacular, the operator must be mindful of the effect on wildlife. "Birds of prey in particular can see drones as a threat and act aggressively towards them, causing both injury to themselves and damage to the drone.  "We would encourage anyone wishing to film wildlife with a drone to contact SNH for advice and, if necessary, apply for a license."

Source: BBC

3.UN treaty would protect high seas from over exploitation

The first significant steps towards legally protecting the high seas are to take place at the UN in New York.

These waters, defined as the open ocean far from coastlines, are threatened by deep-sea mining, over-fishing and the patenting of marine genetic resources.

Over the next two years, government representatives aim to hammer out a binding agreement to protect them against over-exploitation.

But several nations, including the US, are lukewarm towards the proposals.

Experts believe that the oceans of the world are vital for a number of reasons. Scientists say they capture around 90% of the extra heat and about 26% of the excess carbon dioxide created by humans through the burning of fossil fuels and other activities.

"The half of our planet which is high seas is protecting terrestrial life from the worst impacts of climate change," said Prof Alex Rogers from Oxford University, UK, who has provided evidence to inform the UN treaty process getting under way on Tuesday.

The high seas are defined as the oceans that lie beyond exclusive economic zones. These zones are usually within 370km (200 nautical miles) of a country's coastline. These waters cover one and a half times the total land area of the planet and are home to some of the rarest and most charismatic species - but all countries have the right to navigate, fly over, carry out scientific research and fish on the high seas without restriction.

There would be three likely elements to any new treaty. Firstly, it would allow the setting up of Marine Protected Areas in international waters - something many countries have already done in their own jurisdictions. A new pact would also allow the carrying out of environmental impact assessments to guard against potential harm from activities on the high seas. In addition, a new, legally binding deal would allow poorer countries to benefit from any discoveries developed from marine genetic resources.


4.Study warns ‘major transformation’ ahead for Earth’s ecosystems

A new scientific study warns that if the world continues on a “business-as-usual” trajectory on climate change, global ecosystems including Australia’s will undergo a “major transformation” over the next century.

The French newsagency AFP reports some of these changes are already under way in the south-western United States, where massive wildfires are destroying pine forests and transforming swaths of territory into shrub land.

In the next 100-150 years, these changes will likely extend to savannas, deserts, and woodlands, upsetting ecosystems and imperilling plant and animal life, particularly in areas like Europe and the United States, the researchers warned in the journal Science.

The burning of fossil fuels like oil and coal emits heat-trapping gases around the planet. The Earth is currently heating up at much quicker pace.

Shifting landscapes would affect not only the forests, but drinking water, river flow, and water recreation.
And the loss of forests could unleash even faster global warming, because important carbon sinks would disappear.

Source: ECO news

5.Development in Brazil Putting Earth’s Environment at Risk

Brazil is the largest exporter of soybeans, chicken and beef in the world. It is also a major producer of pork and corn.

The Reuters news agency says Brazil’s success is partly a result of low prices for farm land and permissive land-use policies.

Over the past 10 years, Brazilian farmers have been developing large parts of the Cerrado. The government says the area has lost more than 105,000 square kilometers of its native plant cover since 2008. That number represents 50 percent more land than the deforestation seen during the same period in the Amazon. Based on relative size, the Cerrado is disappearing nearly four times faster than the rainforest.

The Cerrado is also rich in carbon dioxide gas. Studies have linked rising levels of carbon dioxide to rising temperatures in Earth’s atmosphere. Many scientists blame the increase on deforestation and use of coal, oil and other fossil fuels.

Brazilian officials say protection of native plant life is important to meeting the country’s goals under the 2016 Paris Agreement on climate change. But scientists say industrial farming in the Carredo could hold back Brazil's efforts and worsen global warming.

Liliana Pena Naval is an environmental engineering professor at the Federal University of Tocantins. She told the Associated Press that the removal of plants can cause bodies of water to disappear.

Thousands of plants, fish, insects and animals are also affected. Many of these species are only beginning to be studied.

Source: VOA

6.Charted: Here's how much your food waste hurts the environment

Our species is pretty good at wasting food. Some we discard at the farm for being undersized or oddly shaped. Others we allow to decay in their shipping containers, thrown away before they even reach shelves. We leave even more foodstuffs wasting away in grocery stores, often by letting it sit there until it reaches its sell-by date. As consumers, we don’t have much control over most of the process that brings our food to the grocery store, but we do have control over how much food we personally waste.

Let's face it: We’ve all found liquified lettuce in our veggie drawers. Don't fret. It's arguably impossible to consume 100 percent of the food we buy. But a healthy reminder of the effect food waste has on the environment might help us all to be more conscious of the amount of food we eat—and don't eat.

Globally, we fail to use about a third of all food produced for human consumption. The FAO cites both bad “purchase planning” and “exaggerated concern over ‘best-before dates’” as reasons for the significant wastage on the consumer ends in affluent countries. That is, we buy too much food and let it rot in our homes before we get around to eating it, or we throw out perfectly good food because a printed date says it’s expired. Historically, it’s been difficult to figure out just how much impact any specific food has on the environment.

Source: Popular Science

7.Alpine ecosystems struggle to recover from air pollution

A study has shown that alpine ecosystems have been influenced by nitrogen pollution. Unfortunately, the alpine ecosystems struggle to recover from air pollution because of the limitation its resilience.

In the past two centuries, alpine ecosystems contaminated with nitrogen pollution originating from increased agricultural and industrial activities. Previous research has shown that nitrogen pollution has a negative effect on water, soil acidification, and biodiversity. Recently, the U.S. and Europe pay attention to decrease the level of nitrogen emissions. However, the developing countries continually increase the level of nitrogen emissions.

The findings indicate that the adverse effects of nitrogen deposition have got into alpine ecosystems, impeding its recovery, which is a significant factor for setting environmental regulations.

William Bowman, a professor in CU Boulder’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EBIO), said: “the legacy of the impacts of nitrogen pollution is strong, and our results emphasize that sensitive standards are needed to minimize enduring environmental impacts.”

Source: Environmental New Network

8.Art can play a valuable role': climate change installations appear in New York

Solar-power climate change installations have been set up in New York. Those installations send climate change warning information, such as “Climate change at work” and “Climate denial kills,” in English, Spanish, Russian and French.

The design philosophy of the climate change installations is flashing traffic signal. When people see a flashing traffic signal, people could realize there is an accident or emergency in ahead road. Then, people will be more careful about the traffic. Thus, these climate change installations aim to arise in the public awareness of climate change.

Daniel Zarrilli, New York City’s chief resilience officer, said: “Climate change is one of the most significant New York’s challenges. Creative solutions and ideas can attract people’s more attention to understanding climate change. Art can play a valuable role in warming climate change.”

Source: The Guardian

9.World's largest offshore wind farm opens in Irish Sea

World's largest offshore wind farm in the Irish Sea opens on Thursday. The product of this farm, Walney Extension, could provide electric power to 590,000 homes. Claire Perry, Minister at Energy and Clean Growth, states that the outcome of this vast offshore wind farm breaks the previous record for renewable energy product, helping the UK maintain its standing role in global leadership. Meanwhile, this farm creates thousands of job opportunities for the British.

However, the investment of renewable energy in the UK has declined in recent years, although the UK sets up a leader status in offshore wind energy. Based on the Global Wind Energy Council, the offshore wind capacity of the UK is much larger than that of other countries. The UK has a capacity of over 6,800 megawatts which is 1,300 more than Germany.

Nevertheless, the UK’s investment of renewable energy has declined by more than 50% in 2018, but the percentage of the global fall is just 1%. Since 2015, the UK’s investment of renewable energy has continually fallen every year.

Scouce: CNN News

10.Amazon Mangroves ‘Twice as Carbon Rich’ as Its Rainforests

A new study shows that the carbon of Amazon Mangroves stores twice times than that of the region’s rainforests. The strong store ability of Amazon Mangroves makes Amazon Mangroves play a significant role in climate change issue. According to the latest study, the wetland, growing environment of Amazon Mangroves, is a crucial factor to guarantee strong store carbon ability, which is an efficient solution to face the greenhouse effect issue.

However, environmental degradation hurts Amazon Mangroves storing carbon ability. At first, Amazon Mangroves have been felled because of economic benefits. Meanwhile, the evaporation rate of wetland has increased as global temperature rises apparently, which decreased the Amazon Mangroves storing carbon ability. Furthermore, the large-scale deforestation of mangroves releases a number of greenhouse gases, aggravating the greenhouse effect.

Souce: Ecowatch

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