Fishing for Energy Removing Traps to Save Local Fish

Flora Real:

In Barnegat, New Jersey, the Fishing for Energy program under the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is starting a campaign to clean up old fishing supplies that have been abandoned or lost throughout the bay. These things, if left in the water, harm local fish and other creature populations because they get trapped inside of them and die which in turn affects the local fishing community. Debris near the surface could be a hazard because they could damage the hulls of passing boats.

Things like crab traps are commonly lost because they become detached from the buoy that marks their location and are simply left by the fishermen because it is nearly impossible to find. Traps like these pose a threat to the survival of the diamondback terrapin, which has seen noticeable decline in population. With an additional growth in a gender disparity of the fish, their numbers are declining rapidly.

The Fishing for Energy Program has begun to collect and recycle thousands of debris and gear that they have found in order to protect local wildlife. To find the trash, the team uses boats equipped with side-scan sonar. They have set up containers in Waretown for fishermen to throw away their unwanted tools for free and plan to set up more in other towns along the bay. The garbage is then sent to a waste disposal plant were it is burned for energy.

Rich nations’ greenhouse gas emissions fall in 2012, led by U.S.

Industrialized nations’ greenhouse gas emissions fell by 1.3 percent in 2012, led by a U.S. decline to the lowest in almost two decades with a shift to natural gas from dirtier coal. A report issued by Reuter to the United Nations showed that about 40 nations dropped about 10 percent below their emission levels in 1990.  The main success story is that the United States has been successful in dropping emissions, Europe is in fact mixed because only some countries were able to shift away from coal. U.S. emissions fell 3.4 percent in 2012 to 6.5 billion tonnes, the lowest since 1994, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on April 15. The fall was linked to low natural gas prices, helped by a shale gas boom and a shift from coal, a mild winter and greater efficiency in transport. European emissions dropped only 1.3 percent in the same time. Road transport emissions declined in some EU nations such as Italy, Spain and Greece that are suffering prolonged economic downturns. While emissions rose in Germany and Britain, with more coal used to generate electricity. Among other major nations, emissions dipped in Canada in 2012 but rose in Russia, Japan and Australia.

– Sean Sabogal –


Forty-Four Years of Earth

Earth day started in 1970, when everyone had doomsday predictions. The first rallies were to warn people of overpopulation, a deforested planet, hundreds of starving people and a new Ice Age or the new greenhouse effects. Today, climate change has become a prime concern of environmentalists and governments. Here is an overview of how the world has changed since 44 years ago. We breathe cleaner air, for example air pollution in the once smog filled Los Angeles has dropped from 0.58 ppm to 0.151 ppm. Gasoline powered cars are more fuel efficient, like in 1970 the average per car was 13.5 mpg, now it’s 22.6 mpg. Fossil fuels per capita has dropped from $14.7 million in 1970 to $18.9 million today, but the economy and population have also climbed so it’s not bad numbers. In 1970, Americans produced 3.3 pounds of trash a day, most of it ending up in landfills, now Americans produce 4.4 pounds of trash a day but only 54% of it goes to landfills, the rest is recycled, composted or burned. Rivers no longer burn, and animal life is growing in those rivers again. The bald eagle is now also back, the population has grown by 10 times. The main problem is that there is still CFCs and the planet is getting warmer since 1970.

– Sean Sabogal –

Main Decisions at U.N. Climate Talks in Warsaw

The U.N.’s talks in Warsaw over global emissions, which included 195 countries,  finally ended on Saturday evening with very limited results. Developed nations at the Warsaw conference refused to set targets for monetary aid to developing countries to help them cut their emissions over the next few years, as they had done before. The conference did not address any pre-2015 plans to cut emissions and in fact many countries lowered their amounts, such as Japan who promised a 25% cut by 2020 is now only promising 3.1%. Additionally, less developed countries refused to work with the market to cut emissions, if developed countries wouldn’t.

Some small goals were met however, such as the creation of the “Warsaw International Mechanism,” which would provide aid to the nations dealing with the losses caused by climate change. The Green Climate Fund will also provide funds to projects to halt deforestation in host countries, who in turn must set up agencies to oversee the money.

– Sean Sabogal –

Global Carbon Emissions Set to Reach Record 36 Billion Tons in 2013

According to the Global Carbon Project, co-led by researchers from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia, global carbon emissions will reach a new record high in 2013. There has been a projected 2.1 percent rise of global emissions this year. The global emission percent is 61 percent higher than it was in 1990. The Global Carbon Budget has indicated that the world’s largest contributors of fossil fuels are China (27%), the United States (14%), the EU (10%), and India (6%). However, the rate of growth has slowed down in the past 2 years compared to the past 10 years. Emission rate is growing in China at (+5.9%) and India (+7.7%), while the emission rate is declining in the United States(-3.7%) and in the EU(-1.8%). In the United States, the emission per person is highest at 16 tonnes per person. Most emissions are from coal(43%), oil (33%), gas (18%), and gas flaring at (0.6%).

– Sean Sabogal –

European Union More Cautious as Nations Approach 2030 Climate Targets

Starting Monday, November 11, the over 200 governments of the United Nations will meet together to develop a global pact that will become law by 2015 in order to cut global emissions. Due to the recent economic crisis, nations like Europe have been forced to shift their focus away from environmental issues, but now they hope to bring back the topic. Europe has been the main group of countries that has urged global governments to cut their emissions. Poland is hosting the talks, but the Polish Environment Minister Marcin Korolec, believes that it should be a collective global effort instead of just Europe which only holds 11% of the world’s current global emissions. China and the United States are the world’s biggest emitters and have only pledged small promises. China has promised to cut emissions per unit of economic growth by 40-45 percent by 2020, but that only slows the emissions, it does not cut them. The United States has only modestly done anything, as it said it would cut 17% of it’s carbon emissions by 2020. Certain groups that will attend the meeting will urge immediate action, such as Green Growth Group and Friends of the Earth, and even Great Britain’s Environment Minister Ed Davey who wants a 50% cut of carbon emissions by 2030. 

– Sean Sabogal –

Do Americans Understand Energy? Not Really.

The new poll conducted by the University of Texas shows how the American public is very disconnected from where and how energy is produced in the world. The poll was non-partisan and was a national poll covering environmental issues ranging from climate change and energy efficiency. Scientific American asked their own question based on this poll and it was stated in this article and the question was: Which country do you believe is the largest foreign supplier of oil for the U.S.? Most of the respondents thought it was Saudi Arabia, but it’s actually Canada, which is America’s main trading partner. America’s lack of understanding of environmental issues is a terrible sign of a lack of education on these topics. It’s important for people to know these topics as it can influence our future, so these poll results are disappointing.

The poll conducted by University of Texas is here:

– Sean Sabogal –