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.

Watch What You Breathe

Tiago Rachelson:

New studies reveal that one of the most deadly forms of nature in the world is just the air you breathe. 3 million people die annually to air pollution all around the world. “By 2050, it could be 6.6 million premature deaths every year worldwide, a new study predicts.” The study links air pollution to chronic diseases such as cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, and even worse–lung cancer. My CNN source reads, [ “The total number of deaths due to HIV and malaria is 2.8 million per year,” said Jos Lelieveld, a professor at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Germany and lead author of the study. “That’s half a million less than the number of people who die from air pollution globally.”] This number is so astonishing to me that I find it almost non-realistic. As a believer in science, which shouldn’t even be called a “believer”, I think we need to start making some changes to our every day life style. All around the world, we must stop using cheap fuel for our cooking, heating, and waste disposal. We may have to cut down on our fertilizers because it is linked to Ammonia. The main solution is to reduce agriculture emissions, and the article says we have to cut our traditional ways before we focus heavily on new technology to save our souls.

Source: CNN article-

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 –


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 –

“Sea-Sick” Oceans

It seems today that it has become impossible to discuss the issue of global warming without mentioning the state of the world’s oceans.  Rising sea-levels, “dead zones”, and ever-increasing water temperatures are just a few of the problems on the seemingly endless list of issues related to oceans caused by humans.  It is predicted that by the year 2100, around 98 percent of the Earth’s oceans will have been affected by low oxygen, a lack of biological productivity, acidification, or warming.  One may wonder, why all of the hubbub over something that wont even occur in our lifetime?  The answer is quite simple.  The effects of our carelessness in combination with that of the generations before us can, will, and are becoming evident already.  Our world renown beaches, sought after by millions of tourists, have begun to dwindle away slowly each year due to erosion, but the  effects of global warming are, as the name entails, global.  A study at Oregon State University suggests that an estimated “2 billion people will be impacted by these changes” and that “stressors will co-occur in areas inhabited by people who can least afford it” (Andrew Thurber, OSU Oceanographer, co-author of study).  Between 400 and 800 million people are directly dependent on oceans for the main source of their income, usually less than 4,000 USD annually.  If we continue to allow global warming to continue on its current trajectory without interference, we can absolutely expect a severe impact to be had on fisheries around the world, both small localized businesses as well as multi-national corporations.  In order to prevent a world where people do not know what a beach is, or what it is like to swim in the ocean, or eat a fish that has not been farmed in a tank we, as a global community, must tackle as many factors contributing to global warming forthwith and synchronously.  Simply addressing one or two issues at a time, though better than nothing, is not enough.  The real threats to the “blood” of our Earth are the compounded effects of global warming acting together increasing the already devastating effects of global warming exponentially.  I will leave you with a quote by the Indian Chief Seattle ““The earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.”

– Sebastian Andrew