Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα environment. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων
Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα environment. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων

Τετάρτη, Νοεμβρίου 19, 2014

US Senate fails to approve Keystone XL pipeline. (just one vote short of the 60 needed)

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday failed to pass legislation approving construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline after the Republican-controlled House approved the same bill last week.
The Democratic-led Senate voted 59 to 41 to defeat the legislation that would bring Canada's oil sands to refineries in the United States, just one vote short of the 60 needed for passage in the 100-member chamber.


The 7-billion-U.S. dollar Keystone XL project is proposed to go from Canada through the U.S. State of Montana and South Dakota to Nebraska, where it would connect with existing pipelines to carry more than 800,000 barrels of crude oil a day to refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast.

The project has been delayed for years as critics say it could worsen climate change by enabling further growth from the oil sands, which create higher greenhouse gas emissions than some other forms of production. But Republicans insist that it will create jobs and enhance U.S. energy security.

The State Department said in April that it will provide more time for relative federal agencies to review the Keystone XL pipeline project, "based on the uncertainty created by the on-going litigation in the Nebraska Supreme Court which could ultimately affect the pipeline route in that state".

U.S. President Barack Obama also said last week that lawmakers should not "short-circuit" the federal review of the pipeline that is already underway. The Nebraska Supreme Court is expected to issue a verdict on the route of the pipeline by the end of this year, according to local media.

The Senate is likely to advance the Keystone XL pipeline legislation again next January, when Republicans take over the majority in the upper chamber. But it's unclear whether Obama will veto the bill if the Republican-controlled both chambers approve the legislation. Analysts said the controversial pipeline has become a potent symbol of energy and environmental policy to serve both sides as a political tool.  

  Xinhua - china.org.cn 
 19/11/14
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Δευτέρα, Νοεμβρίου 03, 2014

Bird populations across Europe declining rapidly

Bird populations across Europe have experienced sharp declines - a staggering 421 million birds over the past 30 years - with the majority of losses from the most common species, a research shows.

The decline in bird populations can be linked to modern farming methods, deterioration of the quality of the environment and habitat fragmentation, the study noted.

Around 90 percent of these losses were from the 36 most common and widespread species, including house sparrows, skylarks, grey partridges and starlings.


"It is very worrying that the most common species of bird are declining rapidly because it is this group of birds that people benefit from the most," said Richard Inger from the University of Exeter in Britain.

  • Birds provide multiple benefits to society. They help to control agricultural pests, are important dispersers of seeds, and scavenging species play a key role in the removal of carcasses from the environment.
The study brought together data on 144 species of European birds from thousands of individual surveys in 25 different countries.

The researchers noted that thanks to direct conservation action and legal protection in Europe, the numbers of some less common birds have risen.

The numbers of great tits, robins, blue tits and blackbirds were all shown to be increasing.

Populations of rarer species, including marsh harriers, ravens, buzzards and stone curlews have also increased in recent years.

The conservation and legal protection of all birds and their habitats in tandem are essential to reverse declines in the most common species of birds, the researchers highlighted.

"This is a warning from birds throughout Europe. It is clear that the way we are managing the environment is unsustainable for many of our most familiar species," concluded Richard Gregory from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in Britain.
Source: dayafterindia.com
[indian.ruvr.ru]

3/11/14

Τετάρτη, Οκτωβρίου 29, 2014

Indigenous Peruvians Occupy Airport, Demand Accountability for Pollution

Hundreds of protesters from Peru’s indigenous community occupied a small airport in the country’s largest oil-producing territory on Monday night in response to unheeded demands that an oil producer clean up pollution that has been seeping into their drinking water, Reuters reports. 

Protesters took over the airport, which is situated in the Andoas district in the north of the country in the Amazon rainforest, in connection with a dispute between Argentinian energy company Pluspetrol and the Peruvian government over pollution and resource use.

Tedy Guerra, a protest leader and Chief of the Neuvo Andoas  community, told Reuters that the protest involves about 500 local natives, and that all flights in and out of the airport have been stopped. The airport services mostly planes used by Pluspetrol.

Guerra said that local police have not taken any action against the protesters.
Aurelio Chino, another representative of the protesters and the president of a local indigenous federation, said that the government’s classification of three Amazonian river basins as “environmental emergencies” due to dangerous levels of oil pollution has had little effect on cleanup efforts. “Neither the government nor the company are cleaning up the spills,” Chino told Reuters, adding that “these problems are building up.”

Pluspetrol operates oil block 1-AB, which produces about 15,000 to 17,000 barrels of oil a day, which comprises about a quarter of Peru’s modest output. The protesters are considering seizing wells and valves as well if the company does not agree to cleanup negotiations and compensation efforts.

Representatives of the company have said that they are “making every effort to reestablish a dialogue with the community,” and that they had already signed an agreement with indigenous leaders in September on the use of a local quarry.

Local indigenous communities have already used similar protest tactics in April of this year, taking control of production facilities for about a week. At that time, protesters had complained that Pluspetrol was not complying with a 2006 agreement to clean up decades-worth of pollution, which was causing sickness among the local population due oil seeping into their drinking water.

In the earlier protest, protest leader Carlos Sandi told the Guardian that his protesters weren’t “against oil exploitation or development,” but were only “calling for our rights to be respected in accordance with international laws.”
(RIA Novosti)
29/10/14
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Τετάρτη, Οκτωβρίου 15, 2014

Guangzhou using invasive species against mosquito-borne fever

Southern Chinese authorities' introduction of an invasive fish species to combat a surge in dengue fever has sparked fears that the practice will break the environmental balance.

The water bureau in Guangzhou Municipality, China's third-largest city, has reacted to the mosquito-borne disease by adding mosquitofish to "controllable static waters." While the fish are named for their diet of mosquito larvae, they are also known for harming indigenous species worldwide.


Professors of environmental studies at local universities including the the renowned Sun Yat-Sen University have cautioned against the move.

"The best solution to the dengue problem is to improve the overall environment. Introducing foreign species must be meticulous. The impacts must be controlled," said Li Yanliang, chairman of the National Aquatic Wildlife Conservation Association.

Although the bureau said limiting the number of mosquitofish would ensure that the environment is not affected, it told Xinhua it did not know how many of the fish it had thrown into Guangzhou waters.

Local media reported one district in Guangzhou received more than 54,000 mosquitofish.

Guangzhou has seen a rise in dengue fever cases since September, with over 27,000 cases reported. 

Source:Xinhua - globaltimes.cn
15/10/14
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Σάββατο, Οκτωβρίου 11, 2014

Russian Defense Ministry to Build Arctic Environmental Center. Presence in the Arctic is not to harm the region's ecology

MOSCOW, October 11  - Russia's Defense Ministry is set to build a regional environmental center in the Arctic to prevent pollution in areas where Russian forces are deployed, Deputy Minister of Defense Dmitry Bulgakov said Saturday.

"To control the ecology of the Russian Arctic zone, a regional environmental center of the Northern Fleet is to be created in the near future, which will carry out ecological monitoring and control compliance with Russian and international environmental legislation," Bulgakov said.


According to the deputy minister, Russia's military presence in the Arctic is not to harm the region's ecology.

He noted that Russian troops have been deployed in the Arctic in accordance with "existing international standards and international law regulations regarding environmental security issues".

Russian forces systematically receive "training and briefings on environmental safety and compliance with legislation", Bulgakov stated.

In April, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that Russia will build a unified network of naval facilities on its Arctic territories to host advanced warships and submarines as part of a plan to boost protection of the country's interests and borders in the region.

(RIA Novosti)
11/10/14
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Παρασκευή, Οκτωβρίου 10, 2014

Interpol announces special team to combat illegal ivory trafficking

International police organisation Interpol announced on Tuesday it would establish a team to target ivory trafficking and more generally, environmental crime, in Africa. The new team, based in Nairobi, will help further the organisation's Project Wisdom, which combats elephant and rhinoceros poaching and the illegal trade of ivory.

"The global fight against illegal trafficking has just been given a significant boost," said Australian High Commissioner Geoff Tooth as the initiative was unveiled at the Australian High Commission in Kenya.


David Higgins, head of Interpol's Environmental Security Unit said that the team will help eastern African countries in their fight against "significant transnational animal trafficking cases."

There is a large market for ivory in Asia, where it is often used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments ranging from fevers to nosebleeds.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, the African elephant population has dropped from 3 to 5 million to approximately 400,000 over the last century.

In Kenya, the elephant population dropped by 85 per cent between 1973 and 1989.

Kenya is part of the "gang of 19" countries identified by CITES, the international regulatory body for trade in wildlife, as not doing enough to curb trafficking. Other countries include Tanzania, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, China, and Egypt.

On October 4, hundreds of Kenyans marched to demand that the government take action against rhino and elephant poaching. Similar protests, dubbed the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos, took place all over the world.
indian.ruvr.ru

10/10/14
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Παρασκευή, Οκτωβρίου 03, 2014

Rare fish fries released into Yellow River to repair ecosystem

Photo: news.xinhuanet.com
Over 7 million rare fish fry have been released into the upper reaches of the Yellow River, China's second largest, since 2009 to help to repair its ecosystem, said local fishery authorities.

Qinghai Province in northwest China, where the Yellow River and Yangtze River originate, plans to release about 900,000 rare, captive-bred, native fish this year to replenish stocks, said Wang Guojie, deputy chief of the province's fishery environment supervision office.


The Ministry of Agriculture, in charge of fishery affairs, announced in 2007 that one third of the 150 fish species in the Yellow River were believed to be extinct due to human encroachment and low rainfall.

Over fishing, dumping and hydropower projects degraded the environment and led to a shrinking fish population. In Qinghai, 22 fish species are native and most of them are only found on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau.

"Fish grow much more slowly on the plateau than at low altitude, due to cold weather. Plateau fish, living at around 4,000 meters above the sea level, are extremely resistant to cold, but only add an average of half kilogram in weight every ten years," said Wang.

Once the stocks are damaged, it's hard to restore quickly, he said.

"Our survey shows a rise in fish stocks in some key areas over the past five years, meaning the released fry have adapted well," said the official.

Qinghai has plans to build more fish farms and expand the project's release area.

(To stay up to date with the latest China news, follow XHNews on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/XHNews and Xinhua News Agency on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/XinhuaNewsAgency.)

Sources: Xinhua  - globaltimes.cn
3/10/14
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Κυριακή, Σεπτεμβρίου 28, 2014

Fukushima Water Treatment System Fails Again

A water treatment system to decontaminate radioactive water at Fukushima nuclear plant fails again and thus had to be partially shut down, Japan's NHK news agency reported Saturday.

According to the plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the trouble could have been caused by faulty filters.

One of the three lines of the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) was turned off after the engineers found out that the water contains calcium, hindering the elimination of radioactive strontium.


Since March, the ALPS system at Fukushima has had a series of similar failures. TEPCO then replaced the filters and resumed the system operations, highlighting company's plans to set up another facility to treat the tainted water.

On March 11, 2011, the Fukushima nuclear power plant was hit by a powerful earthquake and a subsequent tsunami, which caused a partial meltdown of three of the plant's nuclear reactors as radiation leaked into the atmosphere, soil and sea.

The incident was the world's worst nuclear disaster since the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe.

Several areas within the 20-kilometer (12 miles) zone from the plant are still considered unfit for habitation due to the high levels of radioactive contamination.

TEPCO has been widely criticized for being inadequately prepared for a tsunami and for its slow response to the disaster.

Cleaning the toxic waste from the abandoned nuclear plant and reactors decommissioning have become the principal task of TEPCO, the process of disaster cleanup is expected to take at least 40 years.

en.ria.ru
27/9/14
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Τετάρτη, Σεπτεμβρίου 24, 2014

Interview: how to charge firms for CO2 emissions without it costing jobs (EP)


Charging companies for CO2 emissions can be a great way of encouraging them to become cleaner, but also risks pushing them to move production to somewhere with lower environmental standards. The European Commission aims to prevent the practice known as carbon leakage by continuing to give some allowances away for free. Bas Eickhout proposed to block this decision, saying many industries can afford to pay for the allowances. The environment committee voted against his proposal on 24 September.

Some industrial sectors in the EU are given a substantial share of their CO2 emissions allowances for free, as it is feared they would otherwise relocate if they had to pay for them. The Commission has now prepared a list of sectors at risk of relocating on the assumption of a €30 price per allowance.
However, the market price today  is only €5 and some say that many of the sectors listed could actually afford paying the current market price or even more for allowances without putting jobs at risk in the EU.

We discussed the situation with Mr Eickhout.

What is wrong with the Commission proposal?

Sectors that are not at all exposed to the risk of carbon leakage are now receiving free allowances.

The Commission’s methodology to identify sectors eligible for the allocation of free allowances is based on a carbon price of €30 per allowance. This price is far too high and puts sectors on the list that do not belong there.

Meanwhile in an impact assessment that was not made public, the Commission uses a price of 16.5. Under this scenario, more sectors will have to buy allowances, member states will earn about €5 billion and several CO2-intensive sectors will have an incentive to innovate.

Is there a risk that some energy-intensive sectors, if removed from this list, might relocate their businesses to other regions?

No. A recent study, which was carried out for the Commission, even questions whether carbon leakage exists at all.

Moreover, the aforementioned impact assessment also concludes that some sectors can be safely removed from the list. The list should only contain the sectors that face unfair competition, whereas it currently the list contains 96% of all industries participating in ETS (Emissions Trading System).

How could the EU make companies pay for CO2 emissions while still preserving the jobs in the Union?

First of all, the revenues can be used to lower labour taxes, which will make it attractive for companies to hire more people. Secondly, companies will have to innovate to reduce their emissions, which in turn will create green jobs.
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/content/20140923STO68302/
24/9/14

Κυριακή, Σεπτεμβρίου 21, 2014

From Paris to New York, people rally against climate change

World leaders including UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon were on Sunday set to join farmers, fishermen, children and others in demonstrations across the globe to demand action on climate change.

In New York, organisers were expecting some 100,000 to join the People’s Climate March ahead of Tuesday's UN summit, which will bring together 120 world leaders to discuss reducing carbon emissions that threaten the environment.


“You can’t fight climate change sitting on your couch and holding your breath,” said Jamie Henn, a spokesman for 350.org, which organized the New York event with more than a dozen other environmental, labor and social justice groups.

Sunday’s global rally - which is also being held in Berlin, London, Paris, Rio and Melbourne - is aimed at demanding changes that will lead to a world economy run entirely on clean energy.

The UN climate summit will focus on talks towards a pact 200 nations are working on that would rein in the rising greenhouse gas emissions. Negotiators aim to complete that deal in late 2015.

In Paris, activists said the mobilisation would act as a reminder for President François Hollande and his government of the huge responsibility they will shoulder when France hosts the Climate Conference in 2015.

“The climate crisis is already upon us and feeds the economic crisis. This is a silent tragedy, which kills tens of thousands of people every year”, said environmental activist and political figure Nicolas Hulot, who is joining the march.

Organisers have billed the event as the largest gathering focused on climate change since 2009, when tens of thousands of people gathered in Copenhagen in a sometime raucous demonstration that resulted in the detention of 2,000 protesters.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)

[france24.com]
21/9/14

Κυριακή, Σεπτεμβρίου 14, 2014

Climate Change: The World, ‘It Turned Out Right’

Stefanie Spear (founder and CEO of EcoWatch):
Portugal student Gonçalo Tocha, as part of the Action4Climate video competition, produced the inspiring short film The Trail of a Tale, which is a monologue of a letter from the future written to our recent past, telling us that the world, “It turned out right.”

The nearly four-minute video is captivating as the narrator tells us, the stranger, how things went right. Society gathered with a fundamental belief that the “purpose of the economic system is to improve the world being for all within the limits of what the planet can sustain … We had to deal with overconsumption first. The prices we paid for things had to reflect the social and environmental costs…”

Deciding to be “more self sufficient and produce more locally” and realizing the “false consumer promise of buying happiness,” people in the new world had more time for themselves and their friends and family.


  • The film reminds the stranger of what life use to be like when “the world was divided by great wealth and extreme poverty … the global economy was falling apart … we were accelerating toward the cliff edge of catastrophic climate change.”

I’ve watched a lot of short films about climate change, and this one does an incredible job providing hope for the future.

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***The Action4Climate video competition received more than 230 entries from 70 countries from students inspired to share their climate change stories. To watch other Action4Climate videos, click here.
http://ecowatch.com
13/9/14

Δευτέρα, Αυγούστου 25, 2014

Effectiveness of Fukushima Ice Wall Unclear to Experts

MOSCOW, August 25 (RIA Novosti) - The effectiveness of Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) plan to create an “ice wall” to contain the waste water used to cool the failed reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is so far unclear to experts.
"As the water comes down the mountains towards the ocean, it's not clear to me that [TEPCO] really knows how it is going to move around that frozen barrier," former US Nuclear Regulatory Commission chairman and the head of the international advisory panel to TEPCO Dr. Dale Klein said in an interview with VICE News, published Sunday.

Along with the other experts, Klein is worried by TEPCO not keeping the public informed about the dangers currently posed by the failed reactors. "They give off the perception that they're covering up something, when that isn't what they're doing at all," the analyst said.
TEPCO officials have repeatedly been accused of negligence and not sharing enough information with the public. Three months after the March 2011 catastrophe, The Wall Street Journal released a report based on interviews with TEPCO engineers, saying the company knew some of its reactors were incapable of withstanding a tsunami.
In August 2013, TEPCO admitted that 300 tons of highly radioactive water had leaked from the nuclear power plant, significantly more than the public was led to believe.
And early in August 2014, the company revealed that all the fuel rods in Fukushima Daiichi reactor three have apparently melted down, while in November, 2011, it was estimated that only 63 percent of the reactor’s fuel cord had melted.
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was severely damaged after a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami hit the plant in March 2011, leading to the extensive leakage of contaminated water into the surrounding environment.

The negative effects of the Fukushima nuclear disaster are still being felt. Last week, Fukushima Prefecture officials announced that the number of young people diagnosed with definitive or suspected thyroid cancer, a disease often caused by radiation exposure, has reached 104. To illustrate the negative effects the disaster has had on animals and insects, researchers cite the example of the pale grass blue butterfly, which has seen a reduction in size and an increased mortality rate in the region.

In June 2014, TEPCO began to erect a mile-long underground wall of ice around the damaged reactors to stop toxic water from leaking into the Pacific. Later that month the company said it was having trouble with the construction of the wall, as the pipes carrying the coolant were unable to freeze the ground. Still, in July TEPCO decided to move forward with the ice-wall plans, hoping to complete construction by March 2015.
 http://en.ria.ru/world/20140825/192327162/Effectiveness-of-Fukushima-Ice-Wall-Unclear-to-Experts.html
25/8/14
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Σάββατο, Αυγούστου 16, 2014

Can Insects Feed a Hungry Planet?

Earth’s population is ballooning every day, which increasingly presents a host of challenges, from housing to resource depletion to food.

The issue of feeding billions of people on a warming planet—along with related concerns such as food waste, water usage and greenhouse gas emissions—continues to be explored.

It has been widely established that factory farming contributes to climate change and even that eating less beef will benefit the environment. But what about eating … bugs. Bugs?


Two billion people around the globe eat insects. Major areas of consumption include Latin America, Southeast Asia and Central Africa. As new ways are examined to feed a rapidly expanding global population, and with a minimal environmental impact, will entomophagy—the consumption of insects as food—be taken seriously in other parts of the world?

Folks at Ensia—Anna Egelhoff, John Sisser and Todd Reubold—put together this infographic to address that very question:..............................http://ecowatch.com

15/8/14
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Τετάρτη, Ιουλίου 23, 2014

Rosneft to study Arctic’s fauna to protect it during oil exploration

Russia’s largest oil producer Rosneft will monitor marine fauna in the Northern Sea Route in 2014 in a bid to preserve marine life during oil exploration, the company’s press release says.

“The objective of the said studies is collection of data on marine fauna in Rosneft License Areas with a view to building a complete and detailed picture of the baseline environment state and developing a set of environmental controls to be applied during hydrocarbons exploration and production,” Rosneft said in a press release released Wednesday.


Rosneft and ExxonMobil’s joint Arctic Research Center will be charged with organizing the study. The monitoring activities will be conducted on two icebreakers and the research will cover the animals, birds and mammals of northern seas.

The company outlined a set of surveys to be performed, including “marine mammal activity monitoring and registration throughout daylight hours,” “monitoring and registration of other marine animal species' activity,” and “keeping record of visual observations of marine mammals and their activity.”

The survey activities are planned in all northern seas of the Arctic.

In 2011, Rosneft and ExxonMobil signed a strategic cooperation agreement for joint development of the three East Prinovozemelsky blocks in the Kara Sea. As part of the partnership, the Arctic Research and Design Center for Offshore Developments (ARC) joint venture was established to focus on research and development, and to become Russia's first center capable of tackling the difficulties Rosneft will face when exploring shelf deposits.

Earlier this month, ARC and The Marine Mammals Council, a public organization, called entered in a research and development contract for staging polar bear studies in the areas of potential hydrocarbon development projects.
 http://indian.ruvr.ru

23/7/14
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Δευτέρα, Ιουλίου 14, 2014

Marine experts urge Australians to eat more sea urchins to save environment (is said to contain euphoria-causing chemicals similar to that found in cannabis)

Marine experts are urging Australians to eat more sea urchins and help the environment at the same time, local media reported on Monday.

Australian sea urchin fishermen are doing great business with the Chinese market, but researchers hope Australians can develop a taste for the seafood in order to create more demand, the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) reported.

If there was more demand, more sea urchins would be removed from sensitive reef areas where they are devouring kelp and in turn depleting lobster and abalone stocks.


In Australia, the sea urchin is yet to find favor with locals, but researcher Philip Hayward said they are a tasty treat.

"When they're fresh it almost deliquesces in your mouth, you feel it kind of fizzing and dissolving," he said.

"A Japanese colleague, one of his turn of phrases was 'eating a raw sea urchin was like sharing an intimate kiss with the ocean'."

  • The sea creature is a staple in Pacific islanders' diets, high in omega three, low in calories, an aphrodisiac and is said to contain euphoria-causing chemicals similar to that found in cannabis.
He said given the havoc they cause to reefs, commercial harvesting might prove a far more effective control strategy than the millions of dollars being poured into smashing, baiting and relocation programs.

"The funding that comes for them is for short-term initiatives, but as soon as leave them then they'll start re-growing there," he said.

"You really need an approach which sees people regularly going to actually remove these."

 Sources: Xinhua - globaltimes.cn
14/7/14
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Σάββατο, Ιουλίου 12, 2014

Europe Considers Fracking to Cut Russian Gas Imports (That would be beneficial for both Europe and Russia)

—The political crisis in Ukraine, including its dispute with Moscow over the flow of Russian natural gas, has forced many European nations to reconsider their reliance on Russia for energy. Some nations are looking at new options for extracting natural gas at home, including the controversial process of hydraulic fracking. Although much of Europe is dependent on Russian energy imports, the continent is believed to be sitting on 13 trillion cubic meters of shale gas, a significant reserve.
France, Poland and Ukraine share the largest amounts of shale gas, but reserves have been found in Romania, Bulgaria and the United Kingdom.

The presence of large shale gas reserves and the current crisis in Ukraine have sharpened the focus on Europe’s shale gas potential, according to Lucia Seybert, at the Wilson Center in Washington.

“With energy security it’s not just a matter of supply, it’s also a question of reliability. And one thing this thing may do, what might happen is, it may expedite some of these explorations of shale gas within the European Union,” Seybert said.
Still, Europe is believed to be years away from commercially exploiting shale gas. Poland, the United Kingdom and Romania are the farthest along - and expect to start exploration by 2020.

But extracting shale gas - using a technique called hydraulic fracking, is controversial. Most drilling sites in Europe are near populated areas and environmental groups have raised concerns about water and air pollution.

There also are political issues. European taxes on the industry and strict regulations create a challenge for extraction companies.
“It is much more complex extracting the gas in places like Poland and Central Europe than it is in the U.S. So we really need to better understand how much is there and how easily we can actually get it out of the ground,” said Eric Stewart, president of the Romanian-American and Polish-American Business Councils.

Energy companies also must battle a strong environmental movement and public opposition.
The process can help meet Europe’s energy needs if it complements conventional and renewable sources of energy like solar and wind, said
Keith Smith, a former U.S. ambassador to Lithuania, now a fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis and an expert on fracking technology.

“I think hydraulic fracturing is one element that can help bring energy security to Europe, but it will take a long time. I think it can happen but it’s only one factor. There are a lot of other things that need to be done," he said.

Much of Europe’s gas flows through a pipeline that runs from Russia across Ukraine. But Ukraine has had trouble paying its gas bill to Russia’s Gazprom energy company. And earlier this year, Ukrainian protesters ousted the country’s pro-Russia president. The new government has signed economic agreements with the European Union, over Moscow’s objections. Moscow has signaled it may cut off gas to Kyiv, and thus to much of Europe.
With winter approaching, the current dispute looks similar to the crisis in 2009, when Russia stopped the natural gas flow to Europe in January, leaving millions of homes and businesses in the cold.
"The European Union has got burned - or, frozen, I should say - with the 2009 crisis so they really worked hard to prevent something like that from reccurring, and there has been much talk about the interconnection of pipelines, alternative sources and reverse flow mechanism, so we will see,” Seybert said.

Shale gas exploration will not achieve complete energy independence from Russian imports, but will lessen that dependence long-term.

  • That would be beneficial for both Europe and Russia, a country that needs a more diversified economy and less dependence on energy exports, she said.
Ana Hontz-Ward
[voanews.com] 
12/7/14
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Παρασκευή, Ιουλίου 11, 2014

Fracking: Major Scientific Document Shows Why NY Fracking Moratorium Is Imperative

Less than two weeks ago, local communities triumphed over the fracking industry in a precedent-setting case decided by the New York Court of Appeals. The court ruled that the towns of Dryden and Middlefield can use local zoning laws to ban heavy industry, including oil and gas production within municipal borders.

While the court decision is a victory for the two towns, many New Yorkers continue to rally and push for a statewide fracking moratorium. In this vein, Concerned Health Professionals of New York (CHPNY) today released a major resource to the public, including public officials, researchers and journalists—the Compendium of Scientific, Medical and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking................................http://ecowatch.com/2014/07/10/major-scientific-document-ny-fracking-moratorium-imperative/

10/7/14

Παρασκευή, Ιουνίου 27, 2014

Ban Ki-Moon advirtió sobre consumo de los recursos y su impacto ambiental

Esta semana, se ha reunido en Nairobi (capital de Kenia) la primera Asamblea de las Naciones Unidas para el Medioambiente (UNEA), para constituir el máximo organismo medioambiental creado por la ONU en su historia.

En la clausura del encuentro, el secretario general de la ONU, Ban Ki-moon, lanzó un llamamiento en cuanto a la insostenibilidad en el consumo actual de los recursos, señalando que "el aire que respiramos, el agua que bebemos y la tierra en la que crecen nuestros alimentos son parte de un ecosistema sujeto cada vez a una mayor presión por el crecimiento poblacional”.

La huella de este deterioro es "claramente perceptible" en desforestación de los bosques, en la escasez de la pesca, en la merma de los recursos hídricos y "en un cielo, un agua y una tierra cada vez más contaminados", señaló.

Ante una previsión de empeoramiento -con unas estimaciones de 10 mil millones de habitantes en 2050-, instó a todos los líderes a "actuar de manera firme" para promover un desarrollo sostenible integrando la protección medioambiental entre las estrategias más destacadas de su política.

Reconoció que no será una tarea complicada, ya que convergen numerosos intereses económicos procedentes, fundamentalmente, de la industria energética, de la agricultura y del comercio, si bien, los argumentos para intentarlo "son evidentes".

El secretario general de la ONU aseguró que el mundo se encuentra en una fase crucial para el desarrollo que se concretará tras la caducidad de los Objetivos del Milenio, a mitad de 2015.

http://www.telesurtv.net/articulos/2014/06/27/ban-ki-moon-advirtio-sobre-consumo-de-los-recursos-y-el-impacto-ambiental-7836.html
27/6/14
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  • Saying ‘change is in the air,’ Ban urges new UN body to galvanize global sustainability agenda

UN, 27 June 2014 – With the close of the Millennium Development Goal era just months away, and work already beginning on a successor agenda to reign in poverty and put the planet on a sustainable course before it is too late, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today the “timing could not be better” for the launch of a strong UN body tackling all issues relating to the environment.
“We are now poised for the crucial next phase of human development – a universal post-2015 sustainable development agenda. That agenda needs a strong voice for the environment,” Mr. Ban said in his address to the closing session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA), which held its inaugural meeting this week in Nairobi, Kenya. 

More than 1,200 high-level participants, including UN officials, diplomatic and civil society delegations, have been taking part in the historic first session of the Environment Assembly, being held under the theme “A Life of Dignity for All.”
The body, created in answer to a call made by governments at the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) for a more representative entity dealing with the issue, includes all 193 UN Member States sitting alongside major stakeholders. The Environment Assembly now plans to meet every two years and will replace the Governing Council of the Nairobi-based UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
“With its augmented role as a subsidiary organ of the UN General Assembly, UNEA has the mandate and capacity to position the environment alongside peace and security, poverty reduction, global health, trade and sustainable economic growth as an issue of crucial importance to every government,” said Mr. Ban.
At UNEA this week, stakeholders deliberated on many important topics – including the sustainable development goals, consumption and production patterns, the environmental rule of law, and the illegal trade in timber and wildlife. “The message is clear: protecting humanity’s life support system is integral to sustainable development. And it is a duty for all,” the UN chief declared.....................http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=48154#.U63YgkDm7gw
27/6/14
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Τρίτη, Ιουνίου 10, 2014

EU launches new platform to improve human-wildlife coexistence

The European Commission on Tuesday launched a platform to improve the coexistence between humans and large carnivores, an official statement said.

The platform will support constructive dialogue between key stakeholder organizations at the European level, where farmers, conservationists, hunters, landowners and scientists can exchange ideas and best practices on sharing the same land with large carnivores.


Eight stakeholder associations signed the platform agreement, including the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC), European Farmers and European Agri-cooperatives and the European Policy Office of World Wide Fund for Nature.

Launching the platform, EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik said, "My warm congratulations to the organizations that have worked together to set up this important platform, which represents a major step forward in efforts to address the issue of peaceful coexistence."

The platform will hold one annual meeting and organize additional workshops on selected topics. It will be supported by a web-based resource center that will serve as the main tool to disseminate information on the activities of the platform, identify good practices in the form of documents or a manual, act as a gateway to the portals of the member organizations, and host media resources such as press kits for journalists.

In the EU region, up to 25 percent of species are now at risk of extinction, largely due to the disappearance of their habitats, the statement said. 

Sources:Xinhua - globaltimes.cn
10/6/14
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  • Environment: Commission launches new platform to help resolve social conflicts over large carnivores
Europe's brown bear, wolf, wolverine, lynx – at least one of these species can now be found in 21 EU Member States. After a lengthy period of decline their numbers are growing once more, but coexistence with man can be problematic. In an effort to solve the social and economic problems that sometimes result from this new expansion, the European Commission has launched a platform where farmers, conservationists, hunters, landowners and scientists can exchange ideas and best practices on sharing the same land with large carnivores.

The EU Platform on Coexistence between People and Large Carnivores will support constructive dialogue between key stakeholder organisations at the European level. Launching the platform, EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: "We need to treat our natural neighbours with respect – but we also need to heed the concerns of those whose lives are genuinely affected by their close proximity. My warm congratulations to the organisations that have worked together to set up this important platform, which represents a major step forward in efforts to address the issue of peaceful coexistence." 

The European Union is home to five species of large carnivores. All suffered dramatic declines in numbers and distribution as a consequence of human activity, but increasing protection and public awareness about their vital role in healthy ecosystems have caused many populations to stabilize or increase, and to return to areas from which they had been absent for decades or even centuries. 

While this recovery is seen by some as a great conservation success, it has not been without its opponents. The issue involves a diversity of stakeholders such as hunters, foresters, livestock producers, reindeer herders, landowners, rural communities, conservation organizations and the wider public. These groups are influenced by and perceive large carnivores in different ways, and in some cases these differences can be a source of conflict. The platform will facilitate exchanges of knowledge and promote ways and means to minimize, and wherever possible, find equitable solutions to these conflicts....................http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-14-648_en.htm?locale=en
10/6/14

Οι νεκροί Έλληνες στα μακεδονικά χώματα σάς κοιτούν με οργή

«Παριστάνετε τα "καλά παιδιά" ελπίζοντας στη στήριξη του διεθνή παράγοντα για να παραμείνετε στην εξουσία», ήταν η κατηγορία πο...