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Combined Arctic ice observations show decades of loss

ENN Climate - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 20:44
It's no surprise that Arctic sea ice is thinning. What is new is just how long, how steadily, and how much it has declined. University of Washington researchers compiled modern and historic measurements to get a full picture of how Arctic sea ice thickness has changed. The results, published this month in The Cryosphere, show a thinning in the central Arctic Ocean of 65 percent between 1975 and 2012. September ice thickness, when the ice cover is at a minimum, is 85 percent thinner for the same 37-year stretch.
Categories: Ecological News

After UK's record solar year, government tries to kill the sector

The Ecologist Magazine - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 20:14
The UK will soon complete a record year for solar installations, almost doubling the nation's solar capacity. But drastic and overtly discriminatory changes to support for renewables may see solar installations collapse to 1% of current levels.
Categories: Ecological News

People, Planet, Profit: The Rise of Triple-Bottom-Line Businesses

World Watch - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 19:59

PRESS RELEASE | Contact GAELLE GOURMELON | For release: Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Notes to EditorsTo schedule interviews, obtain a review copy of State of the World 2014 or for more information, please contact Gaelle Gourmelon at ggourmelon@worldwatch.org.

About the Worldwatch InstituteWorldwatch is an independent research organization based in Washington, D.C. that works on energy, resource, and environmental issues. The Institute’s State of the World report is published annually in multiple languages. For more information, visit www.worldwatch.org.

State of the World 2014:

Governing for Sustainability

Worldwatch Institute’s State of the World 2014 explores the role of ethical capitalism in the quest for sustainable economies

Washington, D.C.—Entrepreneurs are beginning to challenge business as usual, infusing ethics into the notoriously ruthless corporate world. In State of the World 2014, contributing author Colleen Cordes discusses the small, but growing, impact of benefit corporations and other triple-bottom-line companies —which strive to have positive social and environmental impacts, as well as to earn a profit—in the transition to a sustainable economy (www.worldwatch.org).

“Put simply, the conventional economic model—amoral capitalism—and the willingness of so many investors and consumers to tolerate it are two of the most challenging threats to preserving a livable human future,” writes Cordes, public policy consultant and director of outreach and development for The Nature Institute of Ghent, New York.

In the last few years, however, public restlessness has been growing as the environmental and social abuses of the conventional economic model are revealed. And while activists and labor groups, investors and consumers, and national and international nonprofit groups are pushing for more corporate transparency, corporations themselves are still central to speeding the urgently needed transition to sustainable economies.

“A remarkable new breed of business is volunteering to be held publicly or even legally accountable to a triple bottom line: prioritizing people and the planet, while also promoting profits,” writes Cordes. Led mostly by small and medium-sized companies in the United States (and to a lesser extent in Canada and Chile), many of these companies have been pushing to be officially responsible for their social and environmental effects, not just their financial success.

Almost all of these companies are privately held, although a few major corporations have recently become connected to the triple-bottom-line movement through subsidiaries they have acquired. On the one hand, such acquisitions can expand the movement’s reach. On the other, they also raise questions about whether the movement’s identity and potential will be diluted if large corporations acquire smaller, triple-bottom-line companies but are not strongly committed to their new subsidiaries’ particular social and ecological values.

Given this and other challenges, the rise of companies seeking public accountability for their social and environmental impacts is a small revolution. But a few larger companies, like Patagonia and King Arthur Flour, have already joined the ranks. And there is considerable potential to entice other companies to enter the movement and to inspire the public to demand that other companies follow.

“Although it could take years for a Fortune 500 benefit corporation to emerge, such conversations—and broader advocacy by citizens and public interest groups—could begin now to firm up and speed up that possibility,” writes Cordes.

Worldwatch’sState of the World 2014 investigates the broad concept of “governance” for sustainability, including action by national governments, international organizations, and local communities. State of the World 2014 also highlights the need for economic and political institutions to serve people and preserve and protect our common resources. For more information on the project, visit http://www.worldwatch.org/state-world-2014-governing-sustainability.

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Categories: Ecological News

Human waste piling up on Mount Everest: 'It is a health hazard.'

Environmental Health News - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 19:30
Human waste left by climbers on Mount Everest has become a problem that is causing pollution and threatening to spread disease on the world's highest peak, the chief of Nepal's mountaineering association said Tuesday.
Categories: Ecological News

Fiskville fire training facility closed after banned chemical found in dam water.

Environmental Health News - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 19:30
The controversial Fiskville firefighter training facility in regional Victoria, Australia has been closed indefinitely, after a banned chemical was found in four dams used to store water for training exercises.
Categories: Ecological News

Loss of scientific integrity claims rose at EPA during FY14 amid greater outreach.

Environmental Health News - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 19:30
A new report links the increased reporting to intense outreach efforts and the arrival of the agency's first dedicated employee on the issue.
Categories: Ecological News

Water entities line up on either side of the Divide in state supreme court case.

Environmental Health News - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 19:30
A water court case in Pueblo over the size of water rights from the upper Fryingpan River delivered through the Busk-Ivanhoe tunnel to the East Slope has now blossomed into a Colorado Supreme Court case.
Categories: Ecological News

California to try again to add styrene to proposition 65 list of carcinogens.

Environmental Health News - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 19:30
The notice of intent follows two earlier efforts, one of which a state appeals court blocked after deciding the agency lacked sufficient evidence that styrene is “known” to cause cancer.
Categories: Ecological News

The real Iowa kingmaker.

Environmental Health News - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 19:30
How a pork and ethanol giant drew the entire GOP field to an Iowa stage.
Categories: Ecological News

US House prepares to vote on controversial EPA 'secret science' and science advice bills.

Environmental Health News - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 19:30
Congressional Republicans say the bills are designed to make the process of writing EPA regulations, such as those covering drinking water, more transparent.
Categories: Ecological News

Europe sounds alarm over freshwater pollution.

Environmental Health News - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 19:30
Around half of Europe’s rivers and lakes are still polluted, a major environmental review has found, despite a 15-year-old target to restore all the continent’s waters to good ecological health by 2015.
Categories: Ecological News

Pakistan arrests parents for refusing children's polio vaccinations.

Environmental Health News - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 19:30
Community opposition and Taliban threats are blocking efforts to eradicate the crippling disease in one of its last strongholds.
Categories: Ecological News

India’s budget disappoints scientists.

Environmental Health News - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 19:30
Funding keeps pace with inflation, but renewable energy research is cut heavily.
Categories: Ecological News

In France, pesticides get in way of natural wines.

Environmental Health News - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 19:30
Growers are going to court to be able to refrain from spraying their vines.
Categories: Ecological News

Gulf of Mexico turns deadly for dolphins.

Environmental Health News - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 19:30
A scientific explanation has proved elusive, but evidence is building that the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill has played a role in harming the mammals.
Categories: Ecological News

Environmental stocks surge after smog documentary.

Environmental Health News - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 19:30
Shares in environmental protection-related companies in China surged on Monday, after a smog documentary produced by a former celebrity TV hostess became a hot topic over the weekend.
Categories: Ecological News

Seeds of war.

Environmental Health News - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 19:30
Manmade global warming helped spark the brutal civil war in Syria by doubling to tripling the odds that a crippling drought in the Fertile Crescent would occur shortly before the fighting broke out, according to a groundbreaking new study.
Categories: Ecological News

Judge blasts EPA for ‘suspicious’ handling of conservative group’s FOIA.

Environmental Health News - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 19:30
U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth called the EPA’s recurring disregard of public information disclosure obligations “offensively unapologetic” but “more consistent with ineptitude.”
Categories: Ecological News

Madrid brings in tough anti-pollution regulations.

Environmental Health News - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 19:30
New regulations put into effect on Sunday mean that high levels of air pollution in Madrid will trigger automatic traffic restrictions in the capital.
Categories: Ecological News

Microbes could help clean up after fracking.

Environmental Health News - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 19:30
As fracking has exploded across the country, so have toxic ponds of salty and contaminated water that litter places like North Dakota and Texas. Now, a team of researchers may have come up with process they believe will treat this wastewater, helping address one of the industry's biggest headaches.
Categories: Ecological News
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