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It's the Law: Big EU Companies Must Report on Sustainability

greenbiz.com - April 17, 2014

Wednesday was a historic day in Europe, where a new law will require its biggest companies to include sustainability factors as part of their annual financial report.

In a 599-55 vote, the European Parliament passed the law, which applies to publicly traded companies with more than 500 employees. They must address "policies, risks and results" in relation to "social, environmental and human rights impact, diversity and anti-corruption policies" in their annual reports.

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Global Reporting Initiative - About Sustainability Reporting

ALSO SEE - The EU law on non-financial reporting - how we got there

Emergence of Zaire Ebola Virus Disease in Guinea — Preliminary Report

In March 2014, the World Health Organization was notified of an outbreak of a communicable disease characterized by fever, severe diarrhea, vomiting, and a high fatality rate in Guinea. Virologic investigation identified Zaire ebolavirus (EBOV) as the causative agent. Full-length genome sequencing and phylogenetic analysis showed that EBOV from Guinea forms a separate clade in relationship to the known EBOV strains from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Gabon. Epidemiologic investigation linked the laboratory-confirmed cases with the presumed first fatality of the outbreak in December 2013. This study demonstrates the emergence of a new EBOV strain in Guinea.

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New Ebola Strain Causing West Africa Outbreak

      

FILE - In this photo provide by MSF, healthcare workers prepare isolation and treatment areas for Ebola in Gueckedou, Guinea, Mar. 28, 2014.

voanews.com - by Steve Baragona - April 16, 2014

— The strain of Ebola virus that has killed 121 people in West Africa may have been circulating there undetected for some time, according to a new study. . .
 
. . . They confirmed that it is a member of the Zaire species, which kills most of its victims. Strains of that virus have caused outbreaks previously in Gabon and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
 
But this virus is a new strain, a previously unknown sister in the Zaire family.
 
Virologist Jens Kuhn at the National Institutes of Health said there may be more.

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(SEE STUDY AND ADDITIONAL INFORMATION HERE)

Kenya - Alert Out as 10,000 Face Starvation

reliefweb.int - nation.co.ke - by Daniel Tsuma Nyassy - April 16, 2014

An estimated 10,000 people in parts of Kinango constituency, Kwale, urgently need food assistance.

The semi-arid area has been ravaged by drought for the past three years.

Area residents survive on roots and wild fruits.

Their MP, Mr Gonzi Rai, and Mackinnon Road ward representative Musa Ahmed have urged the government to intervene.

Mr Ahmed said hardest-hit areas are Vigurungani, Makamini, Taru, Chengoni, Samburu, Chigutu, Malomani and Ndavaya.

“The situation is bad. We are calling for immediate intervention. People are now feeding on mtunguru (roots) and matopole (wild fruits) to survive,” he said in Mombasa.

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(SEE ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE)

National Inventory Report 1990-2012: Greenhouse Gas Sources and Sinks in Canada - Executive Summary

ec.gc.ca

Introduction

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is an international treaty established in 1992 to cooperatively tackle climate change issues. The ultimate objective of the UNFCCC is to stabilize atmospheric greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations at a level that would prevent dangerous interference with the climate system. Canada ratified the UNFCCC in December 1992, and the Convention came into force in March 1994. At the 15th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the UNFCCC in 2009, Canada signed the Copenhagen Accord, under which Canada has committed to reducing its GHG emissions to 17% below the 2005 level by the year 2020.Footnote1

Disparity Between Soaring Emissions and Government Policy Frustrates Climate Activists

             

The cover of the latest IPCC report "Climate Change 2014, Mitigation of Climate Change," as its present at a press conference in Berlin on Sunday.  JOHN MACDOUGALL / AFP/GETTY IMAGES

In wake of latest IPCC report, activists say all new investments should be in energy efficiency and renewables, not oilsands and pipelines.

thestar.com - by Raveena Aulakh - April 13, 2014

The disconnect is stark.

A new report by the UN climate panel says that, if we are to avert disaster, we must cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 to 70 per cent by 2050, and to nearly zero by the end of this century, so as to limit the increase in average global temperatures to 2C.

However, in reality, despite policies to control them, average emissions rose by 2.2 per cent every year for the past decade, reaching what the new report calls “unprecedented levels.”

Entire Marine Food Chain at Risk from Rising CO2 Levels in Water

      

A lemon damselfish finding shelter in coral. Exposure to CO2 will make it more adventurous, and endanger its life. Photograph: Bates Littlehales/Corbis

theguardian.com - by Oliver Milman - April 13, 2014

Escalating carbon dioxide emissions will cause fish to lose their fear of predators, potentially damaging the entire marine food chain, joint Australian and US research has found.

A study by the Australian Institute of Marine Science, James Cook University and the Georgia Institute of Technology found the behavior of fish would be “seriously affected” by greater exposure to CO2.

Researchers studied the behavior of coral reef fish at naturally occurring CO2 vents in Milne Bay, in eastern Papua New Guinea.

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CLICK HERE - STUDY - Behavioural impairment in reef fishes caused by ocean acidification at CO2 seeps

(ALSO SEE RELATED ARTICLE HERE)

Odds That Global Warming is Due to Natural Factors: Slim To None

                 

publications.mcgill.ca - April 12, 2014

Statistical analysis rules out natural-warming hypothesis with more than 99 per cent certainty

An analysis of temperature data since 1500 all but rules out the possibility that global warming in the industrial era is just a natural fluctuation in the earth’s climate, according to a new study by McGill physics professor Shaun Lovejoy.

The study, published online on April 6, in the journal Climate Dynamics, represents a new approach to the question of whether global warming in the industrial era has been caused largely by man-made emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. . .

. . . Lovejoy’s study applies statistical methodology to determine the probability that global warming since 1880 is due to natural variability. His conclusion: the natural-warming hypothesis may be ruled out “with confidence levels great than 99 per cent, and most likely greater than 99.9 per cent.”

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CETO Produces Wave Power and Freshwater

                       

ecogeek.org - by Philip Proefrock - April 12, 2014

A new, grid-tied offshore wave energy project called CETO is being readied off the west coast of Australia, near Perth. Carnegie Wave Energy is installing what is called the "first operating wave energy array scheme in the world." The installation will consist of three submerged buoys 11 meters (36 feet) in diameter, which will be anchored offshore. The buoys will create high pressure water which will be pumped to an onshore generating station to produce electricity.

In addition to producing power, the CETO technology incorporates an interesting synergy - it is also used to provide fresh water.

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CETO Commercial Scale Unit Overview

Toxic Tap Water Spurs Panic Buying in China City

      

A man pushes a shopping cart filled with bottled water after reports on heavy levels of benzene in local tap water, in Lanzhou, Gansu province, China. (Reuters photo)

phys.org - April 11, 2014

Tap water in a Chinese city was found to contain excessive levels of the toxic chemical benzene, prompting residents to rush to buy bottled water, state media said on Friday.

Tests conducted on Thursday and Friday showed that tap water in Lanzhou, the capital of northwestern Gansu province, had as much as 200 micrograms of benzene per litre, 20 times the national limit, the official Xinhua news agency said, citing local environment authorities.

Benzene is an aromatic, colourless liquid and a basic raw material used in the petrochemical industry. Human exposure to the chemical increases the risk of cancer and other illnesses.

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(ALSO SEE SAME ARTICLE HERE)

Shameful Attitude to Vulnerable Displaced Shown by Leadership of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS)

      

Displaced people live in appalling conditions in a flood-prone part of a UN compound.  Photo: Aurelie Baumel/MSF

msf.org - April 9, 2014

In a shocking display of indifference, senior United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) officials have refused to improve living conditions for 21,000 displaced people living in a flood-prone part of a UN compound, exposed to waterborne diseases and potential epidemics. Despite repeated requests from humanitarian organisations, UNMISS is taking no actions in the camp to improve their chances of survival. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) today questions the UN’s commitment to meeting the needs of the war-torn country’s most vulnerable groups and calls for immediate action to save lives in Tomping camp.

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Shell, Adidas, And 70 Other Companies Call On Governments To Cap Carbon At 1 Trillion Tons

      

CREDIT: Shutterstock

thinkprogress.org - by Ari Phillips - April 8, 2014

Royal Dutch Shell, Adidas, Unilever, and some 70 other companies released a communiqué urging world governments to keep carbon emissions since the industrial revolution to a cumulative of 1 trillion metric tons. This is the emissions cap needed to keep warming below two degrees Celsius and avoid catastrophic impacts of climate change, according to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, which for the first time calls for a trillion ton cap. We have already surpassed the halfway mark and are somewhere around 578,935,750,000 tonnes of carbon at the moment.

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ALSO SEE ADDITIONAL INFORMATION IN THE LINKS BELOW:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-04-07/shell-unilever-seek-1-trillion-...

Why US Fracking Companies Are Licking Their Lips Over Ukraine

      

A large field of fracking sites in a Colorado valley. 'The industry’s singular solution to the climate crisis is to dramatically expand an extraction process that releases massive amounts of climate-destabilising methane.' Photograph: Ted Wood/Aurora Photos/Corbis

From climate change to Crimea, the natural gas industry is supreme at exploiting crisis for private gain – what I call the shock doctrine

theguardian.com - by Naomi Klein - April 10, 2014

The way to beat Vladimir Putin is to flood the European market with fracked-in-the-USA natural gas, or so the industry would have us believe. As part of escalating anti-Russian hysteria, two bills have been introduced into the US Congress – one in the House of Representatives (H.R. 6), one in the Senate (S. 2083) – that attempt to fast-track liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, all in the name of helping Europe to wean itself from Putin's fossil fuels, and enhancing US national security.

Adaptation to Climate Change in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: Assessing Risks, Appraising Options in Africa

 

odi.org.uk - March 2014

Water will be the main channel through which the impacts of climate change will be felt by people, ecosystems and economies. However, predicting impacts on the availability and quality of freshwater resources, and on water-dependent services and sanitation, remains difficult.

While there is a high level of confidence in the processes linking emissions to global warming, much less is known about how warming will affect changes in rainfall, runoff, groundwater recharge and climate extremes.

This reflects challenges with the downscaling of climate models, but also the significance of intervening factors, such as changes in land cover, which may have a greater influence on local systems and services than climate change. In general, the level of confidence in climate change projections decreases as their potential utility for making decisions on how to adapt increases.

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