Koch Industries spent €0.5m lobbying EU on environmental protection

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A notorious funder of climate sceptics in the US has spent at least €550,000 (£390,908) lobbying the EU on environmental protections and energy issues over the past three years.
An obscure entry on the EU’s voluntary transparency register shows that up to €750,000 (£533,049) may have been spent by Koch Industries, the largest private energy company in the US, on trying to influence EU policy.


Conservation project for Bandai Forest Reserve launched

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A project designed to improve the protection and sustainable management of the Bandai Hills Forest Reserve has been launched at Abrewapon in the Asante Akyem North District.
The18-month project also aimed at increasing community participation, would involve training workshops, awareness creation activities, planting of indigenous trees, and alternative livelihood programmes.
The 43,000.00 dollar-project is being implemented by Ecological Nest, an environmental Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), through the support of the Global Environmental Facility Small Grants of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
It would involve some forest fringe communities, including Oseikrom, Pataban, Bebome, Nyamebekyere, Mankala, Abrewapon and Kowireso.


Elephant poaching hotspots identified

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Most illegally poached African elephant ivory can be traced back to just two areas of Africa, research shows.
Scientists were able to locate the hotspots by matching the DNA fingerprint of seized ivory to DNA profiles from the dung of elephants living throughout the continent.
Around 50,000 elephants are thought to be poached each year.
The worst area for poaching was identified as Tanzania and nearby parts of Mozambique.
The Tridom, which spans parts of Gabon, the Republic of Congo and Cameroon, was also highlighted.
The researchers say the data, published in Science, may increase international pressure to stop the killing.
This week, the US government hopes to send out a message against the illicit sale of elephant ivory by destroying one tonne of elephant ivory in New York's Times Square.


Bioenergy can deliver cleaner future, says global report

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A global bioenergy assessment has said biofuels could meet up to a third of the world's transportation fuel needs by the middle of the century.
The report - involving experts from 24 nations - said bioenergy had the potential to be a key driver in delivering a low-carbon future.
It added that concerns that growth in the sector would increase food insecurities were misplaced.
The details were outlined in Brussels as part of EU Sustainable Energy Week.
The report, Bioenergy and Sustainability, was led by researchers from the Sao Paulo Research Foundation, Brazil.
The authors said: "Bioenergy derived from plants can play an essential role in satisfying the world's growing energy demand, mitigating climate change, sustainably feeding a growing population, improving socio-economic equity, minimising ecological disruption and preserving biodiversity."


Pope to urge swift action on global warming

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Pope Francis will call for swift action to protect the Earth and fight global warming, according to a leaked draft of the pontiff's encyclical.
The document - published by Italy's L'Espresso magazine - says global warming is directly linked to human activities and the intensive use of fossil fuels.
The Vatican called the leaking of the draft a "heinous" act.
It said the final version would be released on Thursday as planned.


The pain of producing a global climate change deal

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"It's like having a baby, you don't know what it will look like until it is born."
Laurence Tubiana, French special representative for the 2015 Paris climate conference, used a surprising analogy in a news conference at the Bonn climate talks when asked what sort of agreement might be struck.
After almost two weeks of negotiations in the German city, progress towards a new international climate deal, set for inking in Paris, appears to be moving slowly.
If all goes to plan, the baby will come bouncing into the world on 11 December, no doubt accompanied by the chinking of glasses by heads of state.


China greenhouse gases: Progress is made, report says

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China's greenhouse gas emissions could start to decline within 10 years, according to a report from the London School of Economics.
This would be five years earlier than expected and would offer a boost towards efforts to protect the climate.
The shift has been partly caused by a massive commitment to renewables. China is the world's top investor in wind and solar power.
It has also been replacing old coal plants with cleaner new stations.


Norway Confirms Major Divestment From Coal

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orway's Parliament has formally endorsed a move to exclude coal companies from the country's $900 billion oil fund because of their impact on climate change.
Friday's decision was expected after a parliamentary committee last week unanimously recommended dropping coal investments.
The new guidelines, which will take effect by Jan. 1, 2016, call on fund managers to exclude mining or power companies that depend on coal for at least 30 percent of their activities or revenues.
Greenpeace and other environmental groups advocating divestment from fossil fuels celebrated the move as a critical step. They estimated the decision could affect investments of $8.6 billion in 122 companies.
Norway deposits surplus wealth from its oil and gas sector in the sovereign wealth fund as a buffer for when its offshore wells run dry.


This Solar-Powered Kit Is Saving Hundreds Of Thousands Of Mothers' And Newborns' Lives

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When Dr. Laura Stachel stepped into a maternal health clinic in Nigeria for the first time in 2008, she was “stunned and appalled,” the obstetrician-gynecologist told KQED.
The off-grid facility was so strapped for resources that, at night, the midwives delivered babies just by light of candles or kerosene lamps. Those conditions would prove precarious for any birth, but were particularly hazardous when a woman experienced such complications as seizures related to preeclampsia.
At the time, Stachel was researching the reasons behind Africa’s notoriously high maternal death rate. Women there were 70 times more likely to die in childbirth than women in the U.S.


Organic farming 'benefits biodiversity'

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Organic farms act as a refuge for wild plants, offsetting the loss of biodiversity on conventional farms, a study suggests.
Fields around organic farms have more types of wild plants, providing benefits for wildlife, say scientists.
The research is likely to fuel the debate over the environmental benefits of organic farming.
Studies suggest that organic farming produces lower yields than conventional methods but harbours more wildlife.
The new study, by researchers at the University of Swansea and institutes in France, looked at fields sowed with winter wheat in the region of Poitou-Charente.
They found that organic farming led to higher weed diversity on surrounding conventionally farmed fields.
"Wild plants are important for birds, bees and other farmland species," said Dr Luca Borger of the department of biosciences at Swansea University.


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