Environment

UN commits to stop ocean plastic waste

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Roger Harrabin
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Nations have agreed that the world needs to completely stop plastic waste from entering the oceans.

The UN resolution, which is set to be sealed tomorrow, has no timetable and is not legally binding.

But ministers at an environment summit in Kenya believe it will set the course for much tougher policies and send a clear signal to business.

A stronger motion was rejected after the US would not agree to any specific, internationally agreed goals. ... Read more about UN commits to stop ocean plastic waste

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150 Organizations Call for Ban on ‘Biodegradable’ Plastic Packaging

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Leon Kaye
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For several years, oxo-degradable plastic packaging was hailed as one solution to cope with mounting pollution and overwhelmed municipal waste streams. These materials could be made out of conventional plastic resins, such as polyethylene, polypropylene or polystyrene, with ingredients such as metal salts added to hasten disintegration. This grade of packaging also includes plant-based resins that could biodegrade in industrial composting or biogas generating facilities. ... Read more about 150 Organizations Call for Ban on ‘Biodegradable’ Plastic Packaging

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World Can Achieve Climate Goals, With All 10 Billion People Prospering

Author: 

Rona Fried
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It can feel overwhelming and even futile when we hear targets like zero emissions by 2050, while population reaches 10 billion and the world’s economy triples in size – how can we possibly stay below 2°C temperature rise?
 
A new tool shows it is possible to meet this goal while ensuring everyone has a good standard of living. People can have the food they need, live in comfortable homes, and even travel.

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8 ways Big Data helps improve global water and food security

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Christopher Neale
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Big Data is transforming agriculture, and just in time. The demand for food is expected to double by 2050 as the world's population heads toward 9 billion people and increasing incomes allow many more to afford a better diet. Lack of water is a critical constraint to increasing food production, particularly as droughts and other consequences of climate change are making water scarcer. ... Read more about 8 ways Big Data helps improve global water and food security

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Peak Meat Production Strains Land and Water Resources | Vital Signs Online

Author: 

Michael Renner
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Global meat production rose to an estimated 308.5 million tons in 2013, an increase of 1.4 percent over 2012.1 The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) forecasts additional growth of 1.1 percent in 2014 to 311.8 million tons.2 Production is thus reaching new peaks, despite drought conditions in Australia and New Zealand and disease outbreaks in the United States and Eastern Europe.3 However, the annual rate of growth has slowed from 2.6 percent in 2010.4 ... Read more about Peak Meat Production Strains Land and Water Resources | Vital Signs Online

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UN: Up to $300 billion lost annually in natural disasters

 natural disaster
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UNITED NATIONS — The global economic losses from natural disasters like earthquakes, floods, droughts and cyclones and have continued rising to reach an average of $250 billion to $300 billion annually, according to a U.N. report released Wednesday.

The report, produced by the U.N. Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, estimates that an investment of $6 billion annually in measures to reduce the risk of disasters would save the world from losses of $360 billion over the next 15 years. ... Read more about UN: Up to $300 billion lost annually in natural disasters

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This device pulls drinking water straight out of the air — and it runs entirely on the sun’s energy

Author: 

Chelsea Harvey
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A solar-powered water harvesting device, constructed with a metal organic framework. Unlike other types of water capture devices, this design is able to work under low-humidity conditions. (Hyunho Kim, Evelyn Wang)

A new kind of water-capturing device could be a game-changer for some of the world'€s driest places. It can pull water vapor out of the air at humidity as low as 20 percent €- conditions that may be seen in the Sahara desert during its hottest months €- and it can operate entirely off-grid, just using the ambient power of the sun. ... Read more about This device pulls drinking water straight out of the air — and it runs entirely on the sun’s energy

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Large Wildfires Are Now More Common and Destructive

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climatecentral.org - by Brian Kahn
A 2013 photo of the Alder Fire in Yellowstone National Park. Credit: National Park Service Climate Change Research/flickr
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The West continues to be a fiery inferno as August fades into September. Wildfires have exploded across the region this month.
 
There have been 117 large wildfires to date including 70 large fires that are still burning.

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