Obama Seeks International Climate Accord Without Congressional Approval

Yale Environment 360 - 39 min 36 sec ago
The Obama administration is aiming to forge a legally binding, international agreement that would cut fossil

Barack Obama fuel emissions and direct funds to poor nations dealing with climate change, without ratification from Congress, The New York Times reports. The agreement would combine updates to an existing 1992 climate change treaty — allowing Obama to sidestep the constitutional requirement that treaties be ratified by two-thirds of the Senate — with voluntary pledges for specific emissions targets and aid to help poorer countries adapt to climate change. Nations would then be legally required to report progress toward their emissions targets at international meetings that would "name and shame" countries making slow or no progress, the Times reports. Lawmakers from both political parties say that no climate agreement requiring congressional approval could be reached in the near future. Republican leaders are expected to oppose the agreement being worked on by the administration and say it would be an abuse of authority; leaders from poor nations are also expected to oppose the deal because they fear that wealthy countries will not abide by voluntary aid pledges.
Categories: Environment, Health

Can Trophy Hunting Save the Endangered Markhor Goats?

The EnvironmentaList - 5 hours 19 min ago
A controversial program in Tajikistan tests the idea
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

Global Meat Production, Especially Beef, Strains Land and Water, Study Says

Yale Environment 360 - August 26, 2014
Global meat production has expanded more than four-fold over the last 50 years — and 25-fold since

Beef cattle graze in Colombia 1800 — due to growing purchasing power, urbanization, and changing diets, according to a new report from the Worldwatch Institute. Consumers in industrial countries still eat much larger quantities of meat (75.9 kilograms per person) than those in developing nations (33.7 kilograms), though that gap is beginning to close, the report says. Nearly 70 percent of the planet's agricultural land and freshwater is used for livestock, with additional land and water used to grow grains for livestock feed. Beef production alone uses about three-fifths of global farmland and yields less than 5 percent of the world's protein, according to the report. Sustainable agricultural practices such as feeding livestock with grasses instead of grains and using natural fertilizers could reduce these impacts, the report notes, but alternative dietary choices hold the most immediate promise for reducing the environmental footprint of meat production.
Categories: Environment, Health

Federal Judge Overturns Kaua‘i GMO, Pesticide Regulatory Law

The EnvironmentaList - August 26, 2014
Ordinance 960 preempted by state law, says ruling; appeal likely
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

Spotlight on National Young Woman of Distinction, Anna Krauss

Girl Scouts of America - August 26, 2014
The National Young Women of Distinction honor is given by Girl Scouts of the USA to the top ten Girl Scout Gold Award recipients whose Take Action projects demonstrated outstanding leadership, had a measurable and sustainable impact, and addressed a local challenge related to a national and/or global issue. The girls and their projects will be showcased on the blog in advance of being honored at the 2014 Girl Scout Convention in Salt Lake City this October.
Anna Krauss: A Voice for Those Who Can’t ListenAge: 18Hometown: Manorville, New YorkYears of Girl Scouting: 14
No matter the number of times a test proctor of the English Language Arts regent exams reads a passage aloud, Anna could not hear them. Anna is deaf, and, like all other students in the state, for her the listening portion of the exam was mandatory. The only additional accommodations afforded to students like Anna were extended time and a third or fourth reading of the passage.
For Anna and other deaf students, these accommodations were not so accommodating after all. Unable to hear, they were unable to listen. As Anna says, it turned what was simply one part of her identity into a disability. Lip reading and sign language couldn’t fill the gap. There was a much larger problem in need of fixing. So Anna decided to be the one to take on the task.
How Anna Is Changing the World:
The challenge was how to make the information equally accessible to all students. And the solution, Anna found, was simple: Allow deaf students to read the passage themselves.
With hundreds of emails, website submissions, and letters written, Anna got the attention of the state board of education, the governor’s office, and the senator’s office. It took three years of lobbying before a letter came from New York State Commissioner of Education John B. King Jr. affirming that the Test Access Accommodations Guidelines for students With Disabilities had been altered to provide written transcripts during the listening portion of the exam.
The joy Anna experienced completing her project came from knowing that she had prevented others from feeling that deafness is a barrier to success, a diploma, or realizing their dreams.
Next Steps:
Anna will be studying biotechnology and molecular bioscience at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Someday, she hopes to be a teacher for the deaf. Until then, she is a proud advocate!
Categories: Environment

Health Care Savings Can Far Outweigh Costs of Carbon-Cutting Policies

Yale Environment 360 - August 25, 2014
Implementing policies to curb carbon emissions dramatically cuts health care costs associated with poor air quality — in some cases, by more than 10 times the cost of policy implementation, according to new research published in Nature Climate Change. Policies aimed at reducing carbon emissions are as effective as laws targeting polluting compounds like ground-level ozone, also known as smog, and fine particulate matter, the MIT researchers say. An analysis of three climate policies — a clean-energy standard, a transportation policy, and a cap-and-trade program — found that savings from avoided health problems could recoup 26 percent of the cost of implementing a transportation policy, and up to to 10.5 times the cost of implementing a cap-and-trade program. A cap-and-trade program would cost roughly $14 billion to implement, whereas a transportation policy with rigid fuel-economy requirements could cost more than $1 trillion, according to the analysis.
Categories: Environment, Health

Mideast Water Wars: In Iraq, A Battle for Control of Water

Yale Environment 360 - August 25, 2014
Conflicts over water have long haunted the Middle East. Yet in the current fighting in Iraq, the major dams on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers are seen not just as strategic targets but as powerful weapons of war. BY FRED PEARCE
Categories: Environment, Health

Passive Carbon Capture Can Clean Clean Up Our Air, But the Technology Lacks Popular Support

The EnvironmentaList - August 25, 2014
Other significant challenges include cost and figuring out where to store the captured carbon
Categories: Environment, News Feeds


Costa Salvaje - August 25, 2014
Categories: Environment

Drought in Western U.S. Has Caused Land to Rise, Researchers Say

Yale Environment 360 - August 22, 2014
The western U.S. has lost so much water during the ongoing severe drought that the land has sprung up by

GPS station in California's Inyo Mountains as much as 15 millimeters (0.6 inches), according to a study in the journal Science. Water at the surface of the earth typically weighs down the land, but the region has lost enough water that the tectonic plate underlying the western U.S. has undergone rapid uplift, much like an uncoiling spring, researchers explain. California's water deficit over the past 18 months has caused some of its mountain ranges to rise by more than half an inch, and the West overall has risen by 0.15 inches, according to the study. Using ground positioning data from GPS stations throughout the region, researchers from the University of California, San Diego, estimate the water loss to be 240 gigatons (63 trillion gallons) — equivalent to a nearly four-inch layer of water spread out over the entire western U.S.
Categories: Environment, Health

Let's Convention! Make the Trek to Trefoil Ranch!

Girl Scouts of America - August 22, 2014
This year, Girl Scouts of Utah is the host of the Girl Scouts’ 53rd national convention in the spectacular Salt Lake City, Utah, October 16–19, 2014. If you love outdoor adventures, if camp is in your blood, or if you’d just like to get out and experience the natural beauty of Utah, we invite you to register hereand join Girl Scouts of Utah on October 16 as we take you on an adventure to discover and tour our remarkable Trefoil Ranch.
You’ll travel by coach to this picturesque camp with facilities that excite beginning riders and skilled equestrians alike. Once there, you’ll learn all about our A.I.A. award–winning collaborative partnership with the University of Utah’s College of Architecture, through which girls engaged in STEM programming and worked directly with architecture students to build sustainable cabins. You’ll also tour the cabins, constructed of locally sourced timber made from beetle-kill pine, and hear about the girls’ experiences with space planning and building design, as well as what they learned about sustainability, material fabrication, and construction.
The University of Utah’s architecture partners will join us on the tour to share how you can take the lessons learned from Utah and build your own partnerships with colleges, universities, and businesses in your area. You’ll also have the opportunity to learn about the year-round programming at Trefoil Ranch and Camp Cloud Rim, and discover how to create your own cooperative enterprises with elements of learning, skill building, teaching, inspiration, and environmental stewardship built right in.
All outdoor program managers, camp directors, property managers, executive leadership, and outdoor enthusiasts are invited to join us as we explore how Utah’s best practices can be taken back to local councils. Get all of the information here!
This is your year to reunite with friends, deepen and share your knowledge of Girl Scouts, and help invigorate a global movement of girls, women, and men around the theme "Discover, Connect, Take Action: Girls Change the World."

Learn more about attending, including discounted travel arrangements and special gatherings that start a few days before convention's official kickoff (including Girl Scout History Conference 2014 and several learning opportunities).  Register Now!
Categories: Environment

Employing Humor to Make Climate Science Digestible

The EnvironmentaList - August 22, 2014
In Review: The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change
Categories: Environment, News Feeds


Costa Salvaje - August 22, 2014
Categories: Environment

Antarctica and Greenland Losing Ice at Fastest Rate Ever Recorded

Yale Environment 360 - August 21, 2014
Ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are losing mass at an unprecedented rate of 500 cubic kilometers per

Click to Enlarge

Antarctic ice elevation year — enough ice to cover the Chicago metropolitan area with a layer of ice 600 meters thick — according to German researchers. Using data from the European Space Agency's CryoSat 2 satellite from 2011 to 2014, the team created the most detailed maps to date of ice elevations across Antarctica and Greenland, accurate to a few meters in height. The results reveal that Greenland alone is losing ice volume by about 375 cubic kilometers per year, doubling since 2009, the scientists report. Ice loss in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has increased by a factor of three over the same period. Combined, the two ice sheets are thinning at the highest rate observed since altimetry satellite records began about 20 years ago, the study found. Data show that East Antarctica is gaining ice volume, but at a moderate rate that doesn’t compensate the losses on the continent's other side.
Categories: Environment, Health

5 Ways to Get Your Girl Ready for Kindergarten

Girl Scouts of America - August 21, 2014
Pencils, backpacks, and school buses. New friends, new teachers and a brand new schedule every morning. Starting school brings a lot of change for both you and your daughter. But there are a few simple things you can do to help her walk through doors on her first day not only ready to learn, but with a big smile and a sense of confidence.
From Girl Scouts For Adults, here are 5 ways to prepare her for a happy, safe (and fun) start to her first ever school year: 
  1. A little independence goes a long way. This is especially important if your daughter has never been away from home all day. Start small. Work on your child’s ability to do basic physical things for themselves before school starts. Can she put on and take off shoes? Check. Zip up her coat? Check. Does she know how to navigate the bathroom independently at potty time? Check. And remember, tights are tough. So is anything with lots of complicated zips, buttons and snaps. Kindergarten is a place to play, run, climb and learn, so the fancy dress you bought last week might be best saved for your next special occasion rather than her first day of school.
  2. Get to know the school. Lots of schools set aside a day to let incoming kindergartners and parents get familiar with the classroom, so take advantage of the opportunity or ask to schedule a special visit. Get beyond the classroom—show your child the hallways, the bathroom and other important places like the library too. And don’t forget the fun—make sure you leave some playground time.
  3. Take turns telling a story with your girl. Even if she’s the social butterfly in your neighborhood or within the family, she still may need a little boost to help her communicate with others in a new setting. Tell a piece of the story as your child listens and ask her to pick up where you left off. It’s not only fun, but also really develops the listening and communication skills that will give her a smooth transition into kindergarten. Reading bedtime stories is helpful too. Try stories and books about kindergarten, as the first day gets closer. Want to see more activities you can do to help your daughter get ready for school? Here’s a list of suggestions.
  4. Do a practice run. A few days before school starts, set the alarm for the new wake up time, visit the bus stop, or walk the route to school. If you have neighbors who will be attending the same school, it might be a great time to find your bus buddy—or a friendly face to join her on the first ever walk to school.
  5. Kindness counts. Friendships are important, but if this will be the first time you don’t choose her friends, just remember one thing: That’s ok. To reinforce the skills that will help her make new friends, let her know when you see those positive behaviors in action. Like the way she shared with a younger sibling or neighborhood playmate? Tell her. Did she notice someone was sad and try to cheer her up? Let her know what a nice thing she did. And when kids aren’t kind: Make sure she’s just as comfortable as her brother is speaking up for herself and being her own advocate.
Looking for more things to do with your daughter? Check out more tips and activitiesyou can do together to help her get ready for school.
Categories: Environment

Is China Turning the Corner on Environmental Protection?

The EnvironmentaList - August 21, 2014
Growing health concerns have spurred significant changes to the Middle Kingdom’s environmental law and policy.
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

Exporting Coal to Korea Could Slash Emissions by 21 Percent, Analysis Finds

Yale Environment 360 - August 20, 2014
Exporting U.S. coal to South Korean power plants could cut greenhouse gas emissions by 21 percent compared to burning it at less efficient U.S. plants, according to researchers at Duke University. The strategy could also generate more than $25 billion in economic activity in the U.S. and cut emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and particulate matter, the researchers say. For those benefits to occur, however, U.S. plants would need to replace the exported coal with natural gas, and South Korea must use the imported coal to replace dirtier sources of coal. South Korea's coal-fired power plants are newer and significantly more efficient than those in the U.S. — efficient enough to offset emissions associated with shipping the coal across the globe, the researchers say. However, they also caution that further studies are needed to assess the scenario's full environmental impacts, including water use, land use, and the degradation of vital habitats.
Categories: Environment, Health

Girl Scouts Take Top Awards at Solar Car Race!

Girl Scouts of America - August 20, 2014
Girl Scouts Heart of the South has some news to share! Girl Scout Troops 10103 and 13361 took home top honors in Memphis Light, Gas and Water’s “A-Blazing Model Solar Car Race”. The object of the competition was to design and build a vehicle powered strictly by solar power using recycled materials and a special kit containing a solar panel and motor.
Participants were instructed to use the kits along with various recycled materials to design and construct a vehicle to race on a 20-meter course. After a series of head-to-head elimination rounds, Girl Scout Troop 10103 from Collierville won first place in the Middle School Division with their car, “Samoa Fun.”   Awards were also presented for speed and design. Girl Scout Troop 13361 from Cordova won first place overall in the “Best Use of Recycled Materials” category with their entry. The Cordova girls were thrilled to be honored for their creativity but said they are excited for next year’s event where they hope to build a vehicle that takes top honors for design and wins the race as well!
The Girl Scouts Heart of the South council was a proud partner of the event along with the Chickasaw Council of the Boy Scouts of America, The University of Memphis, Christian Brothers University and The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).
Categories: Environment

Interview: Drones Are Emerging As Valuable Conservation Tool

Yale Environment 360 - August 20, 2014
Ecologist Lian Pin Koh is co-founder of a project called ConservationDrones.org, which is pioneering the use of Lian Pin Koh low-cost drones in conservation efforts and biological research across the globe. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, Koh, a researcher at the University of Adelaide, explains how drones – also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – can help monitor protected areas, collect data in inaccessible regions, and even deter poachers. “In just the last couple of months,” he says, “there has been tremendous interest from universities and other research institutes that finally see the value in this technology.”
Read the interview.
View a gallery.
Categories: Environment, Health
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