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News articles on environmental politics

Mongabay.com news articles on environmental politics in blog format. Updated regularly.









Malaysian logging scandal may delay trade negotiations with the E.U.

(08/25/2008) Sarawak's Chief Minister, Taib Mahmud, has been linked to a timber trade scheme involving illegal imports of Indonesian logs and which were then re-exported as Malaysian timber to other countries, including China, Taiwan, and Japan, reports the Indonesian newspaper Tribun Pontianak. An environmental group is using the scandal as the basis for a request for the E.U. to delay timber trade talks with Malaysia.


Presidential candidate John McCain's love-hate relationship with bears

(08/21/2008) Senator John McCain has frequently cited an earmark to a bill proving funds for a study of grizzly bears in Montana as an example of the worst pork-and-barrel spending in Washington. The study was included in an ad for McCain entitled "Outrageous" during the primaries. However, according to FactCheck.org, Senator McCain voted for the earmark he now derides.


Markets could save rainforests: an interview with Andrew Mitchell

(08/17/2008) Markets may soon value rainforests as living entities rather than for just the commodities produced when they are cut down, said a tropical forest researcher speaking in June at a conservation biology conference in the South American country of Suriname. Andrew Mitchell, founder and director of the London-based Global Canopy Program (GCP), said he is encouraged by signs that investors are beginning to look at the value of services afforded by healthy forests.


No scientists necessary: Bush administration's new plans regarding endangered species

(08/13/2008) I would have thought it difficult after eight years to still be surprised by any presidential administration, but the Bush administration has proven unique. After years of delisting endangered species, refusing to list others, and slowly watering down the landmark Endangered Species Act, the Bush administration has finally come out and said it: scientists are superfluous when it comes to saving endangered species. Despite eight years of belittling scientists, I was still surprised they would insult them so blatantly.


Carbon tax will ease transition to sensible climate policy

(08/13/2008) The management of carbon dioxide and the climate represent both an economic development challenge and the ecological problem of the next hundred years. Energy use, economic success and carbon dioxide emissions are, currently, intertwined. A carbon market that represents the true cost of energy and the disposal of our waste products in the environment is a potential long-term policy mechanism for carbon dioxide management. However, the strong interconnection between carbon dioxide emissions and economic success distinguishes the carbon market from other environmental markets used to control pollution. Therefore evolution to that solution is not straightforward; there are a series of necessary steps needed to develop a market.


Pope Benedict XVI says environment has been undervalued by Catholics

(08/07/2008) Pope Benedict XVI, who has arguably been the most vocal Pope on environmental concerns, told 400 priests in a closed meeting in Northern Italy that "God entrusted man with the responsibility of creation".


Brazil asks rich countries to fund Amazon conservation

(08/02/2008) Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva officially unveiled plans to raise a $21 billion fund for protecting the Amazon rainforest. The plan, which was originally announced several months ago, aims to be funded by foreign donations. Contributors will not be eligible for carbon credits that may be generated by reductions in deforestation.


Logging company Danzer accused of tax fraud in the Congo

(07/31/2008) A major European logging company is using an elaborate profit-laundering system to smuggle timber revenue out of Africa and avoid paying taxes to the governments of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Republic of the Congo, alleges a new report published by Greenpeace.


Bush Administration moves to weaken endangered speices protection

(07/31/2008) The Bush administration's handling of the Endangered Species Act has put the cactus ferruginous pygmy owl in danger of extinction, according to the Centre for Biological Diversity. Even though less than 30 individuals exist in the United States—all in Arizona—the species was removed from the Endangered Species Act in 2006, after nine years of protection.


Chevron lobbies Bush Administration for bail out on lawsuit by Amazon tribes

(07/31/2008) Lobbyists for big oil are working feverishly to persuade the Bush Administration and Congress to let Chevron off the hook for a potential $16 billion liability in an environmental lawsuit.


Facing criticism, biofuels industry forms new lobby group to influence lawmakers

(07/25/2008) Under attack by politicians, aid groups, and environmentalists for driving up food prices and fueling destruction of ecologically sensitive habitats, some of the world's largest agroindustrial firms have formed a lobby group to influence consumers and lawmakers to support continued subsidies for biofuel production, reports Reuters.


Gore launches second campaign... for Earth

(07/17/2008) In a speech Thursday, Al Gore challenged the U.S. to generate 100 percent of its electricity from zero carbon emission sources within 10 years. Speaking at Washington's Constitution Hall, Gore said America's security, environmental and economic crises are all related, and that measures to rein in greenhouse gas emissions will make the U.S. stronger, safer, and cleaner. "The survival of the United States of America as we know it is at risk," Gore said. "I don't remember a time in our country when so many things seemed to be going so wrong simultaneously."


U.S. should merge NOAA, USGS to form national Environmental Agency

(07/03/2008) The United States should establish a new agency "to meet the unprecedented environmental and economic challenges facing the nation" argue a group of former senior federal officials in an editorial published in the journal Science.


Planet of the Apes Has Arrived, and It Is Spain

(07/03/2008) Visiting Spain's Barcelona zoo as a child, I was greeted to a memorable sight. In one of the cages sat a gorilla, but not just any primate. I had come face to face with the legendary albino ape "Little Snowflake." Because of Snowflake's white coat, when I looked at him I felt like I was peering into the eyes of a wizened old man. The only difference was that Snowflake's eyes were pink!


Welcome to the Jungle: An Introduction to the End of the Industrial Era

(07/03/2008) The existing state of industrial civilization has brought our planet and global populations into a worldwide crisis unprecedented in the history of life on Earth. Human activities have sent many living systems into decline or collapse, brought about the 6th mass extinction of biodiversity, upset our planet's biogeochemical cycles, and rapidly and dangerously altered our climate. We stand at the bifurcation point of our species: whether or not we are able to question the maladaptive behvaiors which have brought about these travesties and adapt on a global scale will determine the course of human evolution and the survival of a multitude of living organisms with which we share this planet. As the only reflectively conscious organism to have existed, we also hold the fate of (reflective) sentience itself in our actions. I believe our chance at pulling ourselves out of this mess is through an analytical dissection of human nature and behvaior — to expose, extract, examine, revise and communicate the elements of our existence which drive us into maladaptive behvaiors followed by an application of technology and action grounded in a new and emerging understanding of humanity and our position in the biosphere.


Britain, Norway commit $210 million towards Congo rainforest conservation

(06/24/2008) The governments of Britain and Norway last week announced a $211 million (108 million) initiative to conserve rainforests in the Congo Basin. The plan calls for the use of an advanced satellite camera to monitor deforestation in the region and funding for community-based conservation projects.


69% of Floridians believe coast threatened by rising sea levels

(06/24/2008) 69 percent of Floridians believe that parts of the state's coasts may need to be abandoned due to rising sea levels over the next 50 years according to a new survey conducted by researchers at Yale University and the University of Miami.


The green movement has to become a rainbow-colored movement in order to be successful

(06/23/2008) Van Jones, a social and environmental activist, believes a greener economy not only could save the planet, but also must provide pathways out of poverty for America's disadvantaged communities. A civil rights lawyer from Yale University, Jones started promoting the idea of "green-collar jobs" in 2005 through the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights in Oakland, California. In September 2007, he launched the "Green for All" campaign. Jones recently took time to share his perspectives with Mongabay.com.


Amazon soy moratorium extended; may be expanded to other products

(06/23/2008) Soy crushers operating in the Brazilian Amazon have extended a two-year-old moratorium on the purchase of soybeans produced on rainforest lands deforested after 2006, reports Reuters.


94% of Americans support solar energy development

(06/11/2008) 94 percent of Americans say it's important for the U.S. to develop and use solar energy, according to a new poll that found support for solar power runs across the political spectrum.


Brazil creates 3 Amazon parks

(06/08/2008) In a World Environment Day announcement, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva unveileved three new protected areas covering 6.4 million acres (2.6 million hectares) of Amazon rainforest but warned foreigners to stay out of environmental affairs in the region, according to the Associated Press (AP) and Reuters.


Despite loss in Congress, global warming lobby gains momentum say environmentalists

(06/08/2008) Friday's defeat of the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act (S. 3036) by the Senate is being painted by environmentalists as a step towards future legislative success.


Group files for ESA protection of 681 species in 12 states

(05/21/2008) On March 19th WildEarth Guardians filed a lawsuit to place 681 species under the Endangered Species Act. Dr. Nicole Rosmarino, wildlife program director for the environmental group, says These 681 species represent species in only 12 states, include no subspecies, and are only the "most imperiled" of the United State's threatened species. Rosmarino estimates that in total there are 6,000-9,000 endangered species in the United States today. Mongabay.com recently caught up with Dr. Rosmarino regarding this landmark lawsuit and the reasoning for it.


'Soy King' says Amazon deforestation could help solve global food crisis

(04/28/2008) Clearing the Amazon rainforest for soy farms will help address the global food crisis, said Blairo Maggi, the governor of Brazil's chief soy-producing state, according to the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper.


Brazil prepares to launch attack on NGOs working in the Amazon

(04/27/2008) Brazil is planning a crackdown on foreign NGOs working in the Amazon rainforest, reports Reuters. Tourists may also be required to inform officials of their travel plans in the region under the newly proposed rule.


Gore to spend $300 million on global warming ads

(03/31/2008) This week Al Gore will launch a three-year, $300 million campaign to mobilize support for reining in greenhouse gas emissions, reports The Washington Post.


Accurate forest data will help guide climate policy

(03/10/2008) As forests are increasingly seen as a means for fighting climate change, proper forest assessment becomes all the more important. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N. (FAO) says it will call on member states to provide "accurate data". FAO data has been criticized by analysts for offering an incomplete picture of forest cover and trends.


Why Europe torpedoed the REDD forests-for-carbon credits initiative

(03/05/2008) Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) has been widely lauded as a mechanism that could fund forest conservation and poverty alleviation efforts while fighting climate change. At the December U.N. climate meeting in Bali, delegates agreed to include REDD in future discussions on a new global warming treaty — a move that could eventually lead to the transfer of billions of dollars from industrialized countries to tropical nations for the purpose of slowing greenhouse gas emissions by reducing deforestation rates. conservationists and scientists applauded the decision.


Private sector pumping hundreds of billions into cleantech

(02/21/2008) The private sector is "pumping hundreds of billions of dollars" into cleaner and renewable energies, says a new publication released yesterday by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).


Prince Charles says protecting forests vital against climate change 'doomsday clock'

(02/15/2008) Long-time environmental activist, Prince Charles delivered an impassioned speech yesterday to the European Parliament on global warming and the importance of rainforest conservation in mitigating the crises.


$1 trillion carbon market in the U.S. by 2020 says study

(02/14/2008) The U.S. carbon emission trading market will top $1 trillion by 2020 if policymakers continue on their current path towards a comprehensive "cap-and-trade" program, estimates an analysis released at climate roundtable discussions at the UN General Assembly in New York.


Bloomberg: global warming "just as lethal" as terrorism

(02/12/2008) New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporters Monday that global warming is as big a threat to humanity as terrorism, according to Reuters.


Papua New Guinea's Environment Minister says foreign firms attempted to bribe him

(02/04/2008) The Environment and conservation minister of Papua New Guinea, Benny Allen, has stated that three different foreign firms attempted to bribe him.


Globl warming worsening U.S. water crisis

(01/31/2008) Human-induced climate change is accelerating a water crisis in the American West, reports a study published this week in the journal Science.


Largest body of geologists issues warning on global warming

(01/24/2008) A statement newly released by the world's largest scientific society of Earth and space scientists--the American Geophysical Union, or AGU--updates the organization's position on climate change: the evidence for it, potential consequences from it, and how to respond to it.


Sustainability mandated for biofuels used in the EU

(01/24/2008) Biofuels used in the European Union will have meet strict environmental requirements said the head of the E.U.'s energy program on Wednesday.


Border fence may drive largest American cat to extinction

(01/21/2008) The Bush Administration's decision to not prepare a recovery plan for the endangered jaguar in its native habitat in Arizona and New Mexico may spell the end for the big cat in the United States, says an environmental group.


Politics and the Amazon

(01/14/2008) In terms of environmental conservation, the Amazon is a logistics nightmare. How does Brazil protect 4.2 million square kilometers of forest with a border of 10.938 km?


Uganda renews plans to log rainforest reserve for sugar cane

(12/21/2007) Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni on Friday revived a controversial plan to grant a forest reserve to commercial sugar cane interests.


Japan cancels plan to kill 50 humpback whales

(12/21/2007) Japan has canceled highly controversial plans to kill 50 humpback whales for purported "scietific purposes" (the meat is sold in fish markets) after widespread condemnation from environmentalists and governments. .


Could carbon credits-for-forest conservation (REDD) reduce terrorism and global warming?

(12/20/2007) Schemes to offer carbon credits for reducing deforestation rates in developing countries could improve American security by providing stable income to disaffected rural groups, argues a new Council on Foreign Relations report on the impact of climate change on U.S. national security.


Did U.S. negotiators go against the Bush administration in Bali?

(12/18/2007) Insiders in Washington are speculating that the US delegation to the U.N. climate talks in Bali went against the wishes of the Bush Administration as negotiations drew to a close last weekend, according to SPIEGEL ONLINE.


Bali delegates agree to support forests-for-climate (REDD) plan

(12/16/2007) Delegates meeting at the U.N. climate conference in Bali agreed to include forest conservation in future discussions on a new global warming treaty, reports the Associated Press. The move could lead to the transfer of billions of dollars -- in the form of carbon credits -- from industrialized countries to tropical nations for the purpose of slowing greenhouse gas emissions by reducing deforestation rates. Deforestation presently accounts for roughly 20 percent of anthropogenic emissions worldwide.


Scientists: cut emissions now to avoid climate tipping point

(12/14/2007) Countries need to act soon to cut carbon dioxide emissions if the worst impacts of global warming are to be avoided, warned a panel of scientists speaking Thursday at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.


U.S. hijacks climate talks, kills rainforest conservation plan

(12/11/2007) The United States again wrought havoc at UN Climate Change talks. In the early morning hours of talks, as diplomats faced exhaustion, the United States pulled the equivalent of a diplomatic nuclear option, scuttling frantic global efforts to save tropical forests.


U.S. contributes $0 to World Bank's new $300m forest carbon fund

(12/11/2007) At U.N. climate talks in Bali, the World Bank officially unveiled its $300 million Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, a scheme that will offer tropical countries carbon offset credits to preserve forests.


Aceh, Papua, Amazonas governors sign carbon-for-forests pact

(12/08/2007) Three governors have signed the Forests Now Declaration to protect tropical forests for their carbon value. The Governors, Irwandi Yusuf (Aceh, Indonesia), Barnabas Suebu (Papua, Indonesia), and Eduardo Braga (Amazonas, Brazil), agreed to the declaration's action plan which calls for compensation for reduced greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and protection of standing forests. Deforestation and forest degradation account for roughly 20 percent of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, but steps to reduce forest loss will help mitigate climate change. The UK government's 2005 Stern Review said that forest protection could be one of the most cost-effective ways to address climate change.


Rainforest logging moratorium established in Indonesian provinces, Amazonas state

(12/07/2007) Governors from the Brazilian state of Amazonas and the Indonesian provinces of Aceh, Papua and West Papua signed a historic agreement to protect threatened rainforests.


Bali talks update: Brazil blocks deforestation initiative, US stalls

(12/07/2007) Thousands of United Nation's delegates are convening over the next ten days to chart a new course for tackling climate change. One of the hottest topics at the United Nations Convention on Climate Change is Reducing Emissions from Deforestation in Developing Countries (REDD). Tropical deforestation causes 20% of global greenhouse gases. REDD is based on the principal that if the world wants to fight climate change and deforestation - conservation behvaior must be more profitable than destruction. The UN diplomats are trying to reach accord on new financial resources that will empower developing countries to slow down their rates of deforestation.


U.S. to cut funding for rainforest conservation during Bali climate talks

(12/06/2007) While delegates meet in Bali to discuss a post-Kyoto framework on climate change, it appears likely that the U.S. Treasury Department will cut funding for the Tropical Forest conservation Act (TFCA), the largest pool of U.S. government money exclusively for helping developing countries conserve threatened tropical forests, according to the Tropical Forest Group, a forest policy group based in Santa Barbara.



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