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6 Tips for Urban Biking Safety

EarthEasy Blog - Thu, 10/29/2015 - 23:44
As autumn sets in and daylight savings takes effect, urban bike riders have darkness and inclement weather to add to the challenges of riding safely through town.
Categories: Ecological News

Assessing the health and economic consequences of Dieselgate

ENN Health - Thu, 10/29/2015 - 18:31
Volkswagen’s use of software to evade emissions standards in more than 482,000 diesel vehicles sold in the U.S. will directly contribute to 60 premature deaths across the country, a new MIT-led study finds.In September, the Environmental Protection Agency discovered that the German automaker had developed and installed “defeat devices” (actually software) in light-duty diesel vehicles sold between 2008 and 2015. This software was designed to sense when a car was undergoing an emissions test, and only then engage the vehicle’s full emissions-control system, which would otherwise be disabled under normal driving conditions — a cheat that allows the vehicles to emit 40 times more emissions than permitted by the Clean Air Act.That amount of excess pollution, multiplied by the number of affected vehicles sold in the U.S. and extrapolated over population distributions and health risk factors across the country, will have significant effects on public health, the study finds.
Categories: Ecological News

Assessing the health and economic consequences of Dieselgate

ENN Pollution - Thu, 10/29/2015 - 18:31
Volkswagen’s use of software to evade emissions standards in more than 482,000 diesel vehicles sold in the U.S. will directly contribute to 60 premature deaths across the country, a new MIT-led study finds.In September, the Environmental Protection Agency discovered that the German automaker had developed and installed “defeat devices” (actually software) in light-duty diesel vehicles sold between 2008 and 2015. This software was designed to sense when a car was undergoing an emissions test, and only then engage the vehicle’s full emissions-control system, which would otherwise be disabled under normal driving conditions — a cheat that allows the vehicles to emit 40 times more emissions than permitted by the Clean Air Act.That amount of excess pollution, multiplied by the number of affected vehicles sold in the U.S. and extrapolated over population distributions and health risk factors across the country, will have significant effects on public health, the study finds.
Categories: Ecological News

Historic Nitrate Levels Still Plague U.S. Rivers

ENN Agriculture - Thu, 10/29/2015 - 16:46
During 1945 to 1980, nitrate levels in large U.S. rivers increased up to fivefold in intensively managed agricultural areas of the Midwest, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study. In recent decades, nitrate changes have been smaller and levels have remained high in most of the rivers studied. 
Categories: Ecological News

Historic Nitrate Levels Still Plague U.S. Rivers

ENN Pollution - Thu, 10/29/2015 - 16:46
During 1945 to 1980, nitrate levels in large U.S. rivers increased up to fivefold in intensively managed agricultural areas of the Midwest, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study. In recent decades, nitrate changes have been smaller and levels have remained high in most of the rivers studied. 
Categories: Ecological News

Homa Health Newsletter #114

Homa Health Newsletter - Thu, 10/29/2015 - 11:20

  13th October 2015


HOMA HEALTH - NEWSLETTER 114

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VW Dieselgate and EV priorities in Europe

ENN Health - Thu, 10/29/2015 - 02:33
The pollution-cheating scandal that has engulfed auto giant Volkswagen is turning up the heat on the German government to make more determined headway in its self-declared "electromobility" goals, analysts say.The "bitter irony" of the scam that has rocked the automobile sector around the world and plunged the once-respected carmaker into a major crisis, is that the billions of euros VW could potentially face in fines"could have been used to finance an entire electric car programme," complained Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks recently.Over the past six years, Berlin has put up €1.5 billion for research into an electric car, the minister pointed out. And her ministry is looking into a series of measures to promote the electric car, such as tax incentives and purchase subsidies.
Categories: Ecological News

VW Dieselgate and EV priorities in Europe

ENN Pollution - Thu, 10/29/2015 - 02:33
The pollution-cheating scandal that has engulfed auto giant Volkswagen is turning up the heat on the German government to make more determined headway in its self-declared "electromobility" goals, analysts say.The "bitter irony" of the scam that has rocked the automobile sector around the world and plunged the once-respected carmaker into a major crisis, is that the billions of euros VW could potentially face in fines"could have been used to finance an entire electric car programme," complained Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks recently.Over the past six years, Berlin has put up €1.5 billion for research into an electric car, the minister pointed out. And her ministry is looking into a series of measures to promote the electric car, such as tax incentives and purchase subsidies.
Categories: Ecological News

Dancing makes you feel good and help bond with others

ENN Health - Wed, 10/28/2015 - 19:19
Dancing in time with others raises your pain threshold, Oxford University researchers have found.A team from the University's Experimental Psychology and Anthropology Departments wanted to see whether our feelings of social closeness when dancing with others might be linked to endorphins – the body’s 'feel good' chemicals.Endorphins are neurotransmitters that form part of the brain’s pain control system, but they are also implicated in social bonding. Dr Bronwyn Tarr explained: 'Dance is an important activity around the world, and it could be a way to connect with other people and feel socially bonded. We wanted to see the effect of high and low energy, and synchronised and unsynchronised dancing had on both pain threshold and the sense of bondedness to fellow group-members.'
Categories: Ecological News

First-Ever Sustainable Energy Roadmap for the Caribbean Launched

World Watch - Wed, 10/28/2015 - 17:38

PRESS RELEASE | Contact GAELLE GOURMELON | For immediate release

Caribbean Sustainable Energy Roadmap and Strategy (C-SERMS) Baseline Report and Assessment

Notes to Editors

For more information: To download a free copy of the Caribbean Sustainable Energy Roadmap and Strategy (C-SERMS) Baseline Report and Assessment visit here or contact Gaelle Gourmelon at ggourmelon@worldwatch.org

 

About the Worldwatch Institute: Worldwatch is an independent research organization based in Washington, D.C. that works on energy, resource, and environmental issues. Worldwatch Institute delivers the insights and ideas that empower decision makers to create an environmentally sustainable society that meets human needs. For more information, visit www.worldwatch.org.

 

 

Worldwatch Institute study suggests CARICOM-wide energy and climate targets and outlines strategies and initiatives for achieving them

Washington, D.C.—The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has received recommendations for reaching an ambitious regional target of 48% renewable energy generation by 2027. The Caribbean Sustainable Energy Roadmap and Strategy (C-SERMS) Baseline Report and Assessment, released today by the Worldwatch Institute, also suggests a 33% reduction in the region’s energy intensity. Achieving these sustainable energy goals would result in a 46% decrease in carbon dioxide emissions over the period. The report details a work program of Priority Initiatives, Policies, Projects, and Activities (PIPPAs) as concrete steps for achieving these ambitious but feasible objectives. Supporting the full report are two slide decks visualizing the report’s main findings as well as the energy situations of individual CARICOM Member States.

“A month before the milestone United Nations climate summit in Paris, and on the day of the launch of the Caribbean Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, this report leads the way for CARICOM and its Member States to become global sustainable energy leaders,” says Alexander Ochs, Director of Climate and Energy at Worldwatch and lead author of the report. “We were extremely excited two years ago when CARICOM Member States reviewed an early draft of this report at a Meeting of Energy Ministers and agreed on the preliminary goal of a 48% renewable electricity share. Today’s updated and extended report adds energy efficiency and climate mitigation to the equation and is accessible to anyone in the region. It provides the analysis and tools necessary to realize the vision of an economically and environmentally sustainable Caribbean region.”

Caribbean governments are increasingly aware of the enormous financial, environmental, and social costs associated with continued dependence on fossil fuels. Only one CARICOM Member State, Trinidad and Tobago, has substantial fossil fuel resources of its own. All others spend sizable shares of their gross domestic product—including at least a quarter of GDP in Guyana and Montserrat—on imported petroleum products. In Jamaica, the cost of electricity is four times that in the United States. And in Haiti and Suriname, large portions of the population still lack access to modern energy services.

These and other concerns have spurred a broad regional dialogue on improving energy security and independence, fostering sustainable economic growth, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions through the development and efficient use of local and renewable resources. CARICOM has aimed to provide guidance and support for Member States that are willing to transition to more sustainable energy systems. In 2013, the region reached a milestone when it adopted a regional energy policy—CARICOM’s first region-wide agreement on joint energy goals—that included the preliminary 48% renewables target. This commitment has since been lauded by UN Secretary General Ban Ki­‑Moon.

“C‑SERMS is pivotal to the attainment of the sustainable energy and development goals of the Caribbean Community. CARICOM envisions that implementing the C-SERMS Baseline Report and Assessment advances regional goals whilst simultaneously supporting Member States,” says Devon Gardner, Program Manager for Energy in the CARICOM Secretariat and Head of the CARICOM Energy Unit. “All CARICOM Members have contributed to this Roadmap and the CARICOM Secretariat is excited to have this first in a series of assessments, which will provide guidance on the vision and strategy for building resilient energy systems within the region.”

Established in 1973, CARICOM is a regional organization representing 15 Member States: Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago. Despite their diversity, CARICOM Member States, with a total population of over 17 million people, face many shared energy challenges.

For most Caribbean states, inefficient transmission and distribution networks, geographic remoteness, and steep topography increase the high costs of energy systems that rely on fuel imports. The loss of large shares of GDP to energy imports diverts large sums that otherwise could be invested domestically. As a consequence, national debts rise at the expense of a country’s financial ratings, and high electricity tariffs discourage economic development and foreign investment well beyond the energy sector. Additionally, all CARICOM Member States share a particular vulnerability to the environmental and socioeconomic impacts of climate change, caused largely by the burning of fossil fuels. Impacts include sea-level rise, water scarcity, coral bleaching, and increased strength and frequency of tropical storms.

“Caribbean countries are, and increasingly will be, affected greatly by the negative consequences of global climate change,” says Ochs. “They have a strong incentive to demonstrate to other countries that it is possible to reduce climate-altering emissions quickly. But even if the problem of global warming did not exist, and the burning of fossil fuels did not result in extensive local air and water pollution, CARICOM Member States would still have a mandate to transition away from these fuels as swiftly as possible, for reasons of social opportunity, economic competitiveness, and national security. They owe it to their people.”

Significant renewable energy resources exist across the CARICOM region and have yet to be fully harnessed, including biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, waste-to-energy, and wind. There are also tremendous opportunities to dramatically improve energy efficiency. However, realizing these sustainable energy potentials in the region will require a robust and dynamic framework of policy and legislation that, so far, remains inadequate. Although all CARICOM Member States have national energy strategies in some stage of development or implementation, most of these lack a coherent long-term vision and concrete policies and measures. Efforts so far have been disjointed and incomplete, and they face a variety of technical, financial, institutional, and capacity barriers.

The C-SERMS Baseline Report and Assessment aims to serve as a key planning tool for tackling existing barriers and communicating priorities that allow for a swift transition toward sustainable energy systems in CARICOM Member States. Suggested PIPPAs range from coordinated regional fuel efficiency standards and targeted model legislation on net metering, to the development of regional generation technology risk mitigation funds and country-specific electric system modelling efforts. The report distinguishes actions to be taken at the regional or national levels, or both, and specifies the required timeframes. It also highlights three broad priority areas for future action: transportation, regional energy trade agreements, and the water-energy-food nexus.

“Sustainable, reliable, and affordable energy can be provided throughout the Caribbean, and this report helps us see how,” says Andreas Taeuber, leader of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Technical Assistance (REETA) project, which supports the CARICOM Energy Unit in fulfilling its political mandate. REETA is a project of the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), which has supported the C-SERMS project and its Baseline Report from its inception. The Inter-American Development Bank also provided support for the project.

“Through regional collaboration, CARICOM Member States have a tremendous opportunity to spearhead sustainable energy development region-wide,” says Gardner. “Full transformation of the region’s energy sector will be a long-term process, requiring extensive and dedicated collaboration among Member States as well as regional and international actors. The regional approach outlined by C-SERMS ensures that no Member State will travel this path alone, but instead will be supported by a network of actors and institutions, united under a common vision for sustainability.”

The C-SERMS Baseline Report and Assessment is the latest outcome of Worldwatch’s longstanding and intensive engagement in the Caribbean and Central America. The Institute also recently published national sustainable energy roadmaps for the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Jamaica, as well as regional studies of Central America and Latin America and the Caribbean.

—END—

For more information or to download a free copy of the Caribbean Sustainable Energy Roadmap and Strategy (C-SERMS) Baseline Report and Assessment, visit www.worldwatch.org/cserms/baseline-reportor contact Gaelle Gourmelon at ggourmelon@worldwatch.org

About the Worldwatch Institute:Worldwatch is an independent research organization based in Washington, D.C. that works on energy, resource, and environmental issues. Worldwatch Institute delivers the insights and ideas that empower decision makers to create an environmentally sustainable society that meets human needs. For more information, visit www.worldwatch.org.

    

Caribbean Sustainable Energy Roadmap and Strategy (C-SERMS) Baseline Report and Assessment: Main Findings from Worldwatch Institute

Energy Situation of CARICOM Member Countries from Worldwatch Institute
Categories: Ecological News

Can Reddit Bring the Campfire Ghost Story Back to Life? (And Other Scary News to Chew On)

Yes! Magazine - Wed, 10/28/2015 - 12:30
Man-made space trash is headed for Earth; there is science to back up why we love horror movies; and campfire stories are reimagined for the tech era.
Categories: Ecological News

New report addresses how we can slow climate change

ENN Climate - Wed, 10/28/2015 - 05:14
Top environmental researchers from UCLA joined a team of 50 University of California experts in issuing a new report today with solutions to stabilize Earth’s climate this century. The report, Bending the Curve, was released Tuesday at the UC Climate Neutrality Initiative Summit in San Diego, and provides 10 scalable solutions to reduce global greenhouse emissions. 
Categories: Ecological News

Why are diesel cars so popular in Europe?

ENN Climate - Tue, 10/27/2015 - 18:34
An estimated annual 'tax gap' subsidy of some €16 billion for diesel over petrol has made Europe the world's largest market for diesel cars - but the Volkswagen scandal has put the national tax schemes supporting this industry at risk.“There is no reason to keep subsidising this sector," Carlos Calvo, policy analyst at Transport & Environment, told EurActiv on Monday (26 October). The efficiency of petrol-fuelled cars has improved significantly in recent years, while the diesel industry has reduced its nitrogen-oxide emissions only very slowly.
Categories: Ecological News

Why are diesel cars so popular in Europe?

ENN Pollution - Tue, 10/27/2015 - 18:34
An estimated annual 'tax gap' subsidy of some €16 billion for diesel over petrol has made Europe the world's largest market for diesel cars - but the Volkswagen scandal has put the national tax schemes supporting this industry at risk.“There is no reason to keep subsidising this sector," Carlos Calvo, policy analyst at Transport & Environment, told EurActiv on Monday (26 October). The efficiency of petrol-fuelled cars has improved significantly in recent years, while the diesel industry has reduced its nitrogen-oxide emissions only very slowly.
Categories: Ecological News

Why are diesel cars so popular in Europe?

ENN Health - Tue, 10/27/2015 - 18:34
An estimated annual 'tax gap' subsidy of some €16 billion for diesel over petrol has made Europe the world's largest market for diesel cars - but the Volkswagen scandal has put the national tax schemes supporting this industry at risk.“There is no reason to keep subsidising this sector," Carlos Calvo, policy analyst at Transport & Environment, told EurActiv on Monday (26 October). The efficiency of petrol-fuelled cars has improved significantly in recent years, while the diesel industry has reduced its nitrogen-oxide emissions only very slowly.
Categories: Ecological News

Oceans need more protected areas

ENN Pollution - Mon, 10/26/2015 - 18:02
Despite global efforts to increase the area of the ocean that is protected, only four per cent of it lies within marine protected areas (MPAs), according to a University of British Columbia study.UBC Institute for Ocean and Fisheries researchers found that major swaths of the ocean must still be protected to reach even the most basic global targets.In 2010, representatives from nearly 200 countries met in Nagoya, Japan, and adopted the United Nations' Aichi Targets, in a bid to stem the rapid loss of biodiversity. The countries committed to protecting at least 10 per cent of the ocean by 2020.
Categories: Ecological News

Disease-carrying ticks hitchhike into US on migratory birds

ENN Health - Mon, 10/26/2015 - 07:31
Researchers who examined thousands of migratory birds arriving in the United States from Central and South America have determined that three percent carry ticks species not normally present in the United States. Some of the birds, they say, carry disease-causing Ricksettia ticks.
Categories: Ecological News

Healthy Fats and Traditional Foods Conference

Farm Wars - Mon, 10/26/2015 - 01:08
Why Butter Is Back: Nutrition Conference on the Benefits of Healthy Fats and Traditional Foods
Categories: Ecological News

Waterfalls are more threatened than you might think

ENN Climate - Sun, 10/25/2015 - 19:22
More than 100 years ago today, a 63-year-old Michigan schoolteacher took the first ride ever down Niagara Falls in a barrel. Annie Edson Taylor may have survived, but the future will tell if the waterfalls available for such (now-illegal) escapades will. Here are a few threats to waterfalls we can’t ignore if we want to preserve these natural wonders.1. DroughtLast year, Yosemite Falls went dry for five months. While the falls have always been ephemeral, meaning they flow seasonally, California’s severe drought had stopped them two months earlier than usual in June until December rains started them again a month late. In The Atlantic, outdoorsman and author Michael Lanza wondered if the world’s sixth-highest falls would actually disappear, with climate change leading to less and less snowfall. Snowpack in the Cascade Range has already decreased 15 to 30 percent in the past 70 years.
Categories: Ecological News

Waterfalls are more threatened than you might think

ENN Pollution - Sun, 10/25/2015 - 19:22
More than 100 years ago today, a 63-year-old Michigan schoolteacher took the first ride ever down Niagara Falls in a barrel. Annie Edson Taylor may have survived, but the future will tell if the waterfalls available for such (now-illegal) escapades will. Here are a few threats to waterfalls we can’t ignore if we want to preserve these natural wonders.1. DroughtLast year, Yosemite Falls went dry for five months. While the falls have always been ephemeral, meaning they flow seasonally, California’s severe drought had stopped them two months earlier than usual in June until December rains started them again a month late. In The Atlantic, outdoorsman and author Michael Lanza wondered if the world’s sixth-highest falls would actually disappear, with climate change leading to less and less snowfall. Snowpack in the Cascade Range has already decreased 15 to 30 percent in the past 70 years.
Categories: Ecological News
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