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Protected No Longer? Desperate Fisheries Managers Want to Open Closed Areas.

By Carl Safina and Elizabeth Brown By the early 1990’s, decades of heavy fishing had depleted several of New England’s important fish species, including cod, haddock, pollock and flounders (collectively referred to as ‘groundfish’). Fishermen had been catching fish faster than they could reproduce and had degraded fish habitats by dragging nets. To help rebuild New…

UN Climate Negotiators Ink Deal in Lima

Negotiators have reached a deal at United Nations (UN) talks in Peru, setting the stage for a global climate pact in Paris in December 2015. The agreement, dubbed the Lima Call for Climate Action, for the first time in history commits every nation to reducing its rate of greenhouse gas emissions. “As a text, it’s not perfect…

Negotiations Heat Up in Closing Stages of UN Climate Change Conference

Optimism at the outset of the 2014 United Nations Climate Change Conference twentieth Conference of the Parties in Lima, Peru, has given way to the hard work of reaching high-level resolution prior to the December 2015 UN meeting in Paris. Among the challenges is disagreement about regular auditing of carbon emission pledges. The European Union…

Much Maligned REDD+ Gets a Boost from Above for Climate Mitigation

LIMA, Peru (Dec. 8) – As the United Nations climate negotiations enter their second and final week, some progress – and thus some optimism — was claimed late Monday. They were small steps. And because huge leaps seem impossible in grappling with this global crisis, even small steps take on growing importance. At a carefully…

Now starring as diplomat: Bianca Jagger defends forests at UN climate talks in Peru

LIMA, Peru – Whatever her youthful reputation as the wife of a world-famous rock star and glittery jet setter, Bianca Jagger has committed much of the past 30 years of her life to advancing causes associated with human rights and environmental protection in the developing world. On Sunday morning, during a side event connected with…

Optimism at UN Climate Change Conference

At the 2014 United Nations Climate Change Conference twentieth Conference of the Parties, known as COP20, in Lima, Peru, delegates from more than 190 nations are hashing out details of an international agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions and curb permanent damage caused by global warming. Those details will set the stage for next December’s…

On Wildlife Conservation Day, Protect Climate Refuges to Help Corals

By Emily Darling

Protected areas are a hallmark strategy in marine conservation. Yet when they were first created, a growing lethal threat had not yet fully revealed itself. Warming, acidifying, and rising seas have devastated the world’s sensitive coral reefs, widely regarded as “ground zero” for climate change. El Niños and marine heat waves can bleach and destroy vast areas of healthy, biodiverse reefs even where they occur within “protected” parks. If the global impacts of climate change do not stop at park boundaries, what can scientists do? One strategy is to identify and protect climate refuges – habitats with more stable environments where species can survive warming temperatures.

Are Marine Protected Areas in the Right Places to Protect People, or Just Nature?

Mark Spalding, senior marine scientist, The Nature Conservancy I’m at the World Parks Congress, a-once-a-decade global meeting of scientists, protected area managers and other experts to focus on the state and future of national parks and nature reserves. There’s so much to talk about here—new science and technologies to monitor parks, ways to engage local…

U.S., China Reach Climate Deal

Two nations that account for more than one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions reached a climate deal. The United States will accelerate the pace of its net greenhouse gas emissions reductions from 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 to 26–28 percent by 2025. China will increase the non-fossil fuel share of all its energy…

Climate Change Risks, Impacts Focus of Reports

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its Fifth Assessment Synthesis Report warning that greenhouse gas levels are at the highest they have been in 800,000 years. “We have little time before the window of opportunity to stay within the 2C of warming closes,” said IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri. “To keep a…

EPA Refines Pollution Rules

Last week the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was told by a federal appeals court that it could move forward with implementing a program to curb air pollution that crosses state lines. The Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CASPR) would require 28 states to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide by power plants.…

Ozone Focus of EPA’s Latest Rulemaking

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a rule that sets domestic production consumption limits for hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs)—eventually phasing them out completely by 2020. The rule aims to reduce emissions from leakage and stockpiles of four HCFCs, a class of refrigerant linked to ozone depletion and climate change. “This rule finalizes allowed amounts of HCFC…

U.S., Military to Plan More Strategically for Climate Change

Climate change is a “threat multiplier” and worse than many of the challenges the U.S. military is already grappling with, according to a new report by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). The New York Times indicated that the report marks a departure from the DoD’s previous focus on preparing bases to adapt to climate…

Studies Focus on Warming of Oceans

Oceans absorb carbon dioxide and 90 percent of the heat caused by human activity—making their warming a critical topic for climate research. Two new studies—one on the upper oceans and one on deeper ocean depths—share findings about climate change’s effect on these water bodies. The first study, in the journal Nature Climate Change, provides the first estimate of…

Studies Link Climate Change to Recent Extreme Weather Events

New research in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society finds that climate change influenced the majority of 16 extreme weather events in 2013. Specifically, it found evidence that climate change linked to human causes—particularly burning of fossil fuels—increased the odds of nine extreme events: amplifying temperature in China, Japan, Korea, Australia and Europe; intense rain in parts of the…