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Friday, 15 December


Dangerous lake forms after landslide at Gangotri glacier, source of River Ganges The Watchers Latest articles

Authorities are monitoring a lake-like structure that formed a few months ago after a heavy landslide occurred at Gaumukh, the mouth of Gangotri glacier in Uttarakhand, India. This glacier, one of the primary sources of River Ganges, is one of the largest in the...... Read more

Floods and landslides hit Philippines, evacuations as Urduja becomes a tropical storm The Watchers Latest articles

Tropical Depression "Urduja" strengthened into a tropical storm, internationally known as Kai-Tak, early Thursday, December 14, 2017, on its way toward Samar Province, the Philippines. The cyclone is already causing floods and landslides, prompting...... Read more

The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: December 6 - 12, 2017 The Watchers Latest articles

New activity/unrest was reported for 6 volcanoes between December 6 and 12, 2017. During the same period, ongoing activity was reported for 16 volcanoes. New activity/unrest: Agung, Bali (Indonesia) | Kanlaon, Philippines | Klyuchevskoy, Central Kamchatka (Russia) |...... Read more

Explosion at Cleveland volcano, ash to 6 km (20 000 feet) a.s.l. The Watchers Latest articles

A new explosion was detected at Cleveland volcano, Alaska at 13:20 UTC on December 13, 2017. AVO raised the Aviation Color Code back to Orange. The explosion produced an eruption cloud that was observed in satellite data to an altitude of 6 km (20 000 feet) a.s.l....... Read more

Strong and shallow M6.5 earthquake near Bouvet Island, South Atlantic The Watchers Latest articles

A strong and shallow earthquake registered by the USGS as M6.5 hit near Bouvet Island, South Atlantic Ocean at 18:03 UTC on December 13, 2017. The agency is reporting a depth of 15.1 km (9.4 miles). EMSC is reporting M6.5 and a preliminary depth of 300 km (186...... Read more

Locals fear for their lives over planned dam in Indonesias Leuser Ecosystem Conservation news

ACEH TAMIANG, Indonesia Maksum, a resident of Aceh Tamiang district in northern Sumatra, Indonesia, can still vividly recall when a flash flood hit the area 11 years ago this month. The 2006 disaster left a trail of destruction in its wake, claiming the lives of 28 people and forcing more than 200,000 from their homes. Today, he is increasingly concerned that a similar catastrophe looms on the horizon one driven not by natural forces, but by a massive hydroelectric power plant planned for construction here. The 428-megawatt (MW) dam will be 173.5 meters (570 feet) high, with a reservoir capacity of 697.4 million cubic meters (24.6 billion cubic feet). The plans also call for the flooding of 40 square kilometers (15.4 square miles) of land in the Leuser Ecosystem, one of the worlds largest expanses of tropical rainforest and an ecological hotspot celebrated as the last place on Earth where orangutans, rhinos, tigers and elephants coexist in the wild. Maksum, like the majority of residents here, lives near the banks of the Tamiang River, which will be blocked to fill the reservoir. For him, the dam only portends disaster. We dont want [the dam to be built] because if the dam collapses, itll become a bomb, he said. And the Aceh Tamiang people already went through a flash flood on December 22, 2006. We dont want another disaster to hit us again because it will destroy our development. The Leuser Ecosystem in Indonesias Aceh province, in northern Sumatra.

Land reclamation threatens extremely rare spoon-billed sandpipers in China Conservation news

One of the worlds rarest birds the tiny spoon-billed sandpiper  could soon lose a critical habitat to land reclamation projects, warns a new report by Greenpeace. Every year, the reddish-brown spoon-billed sandpiper (Eurynorhynchus pygmeus) makes a 5,000-mile long journey, flying from its breeding grounds in Arctic Russia to its wintering sites in places like southern China, Bangladesh and Myanmar. On the way, the bird makes a crucial three-month stopover at Tiaozini mudflats in Jiangsu province on Chinas eastern coast. This is the single most important site for the species, Nigel Clark of the British Trust for Ornithology told Mongabay. The birds rely on the mudflats and wetlands not only for their annual moult a period when they replace all their wing feathers but also to refuel and to find refuge. The coastal site is also important for the birds during their journey back to the Russian breeding grounds. Moreover, Tiaozini is a critical habitat for other endangered birds like the Nordmanns greenshank (Tringa guttifer) and the black-faced spoonbill (Platalea minor). The Tiaozini mudflats, however, could soon be gone. Spoon-billed sandpiper. Photo by JJ Harrison via Wikimedia Commons (CC BYSA 3.0) According to Greenpeace, the Jiangsu provincial government has already converted about 67.5 square kilometers (~26 square miles) of Tiaozinis coastal waters into land by filling the area with soil and rocks. The mudflats and marshes that were once haven for waterbirds are now hard land. The government plans to reclaim another 599.5 square kilometers of Tiaozini by 2020. Wetlands destruction

African Parks backs marine reserve brimming with wildlife in Mozambique Conservation news

A sliver of ocean on the Southern Africa coast is getting a new chance at success thanks to an agreement announced Dec. 6. The National Administration of Conservation Areas of Mozambique has enlisted the help of the conservation NGO African Parks, which manages more than a dozen protected areas in eight other countries on the continent, to run Bazaruto Archipelago National Park for the next 25 years. The organizations hope the move will jumpstart tourism in the park and help safeguard its resident wildlife, including hundreds of species of birds, reptiles, mammals and fish. Bazaruto has the tremendous opportunity to show how a national park can create a conservation-led economy, where the protection and management of wildlife and their habitats not only ecologically restores the park, but can create economic benefits for local communities, said Peter Fearnhead, the CEO of South Africa-based African Parks, in a statement. Reef manta rays (Manta alfredi), pictured here in the Maldives, are found along Mozambiques southern coast. Photo by Shiyam ElkCloner (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons. The government set aside the 1,430-square-kilometer (552-square-mile) reserve in 1971. In an email to African Parks supporters, Fearnhead described Bazaruto as a critical sanctuary for numerous species of marine megafauna including dolphins, sharks, whales, whale sharks, manta rays and turtles. Around 2,000 fish species call the park home, along with some of the last remaining dugongs (Dugong dugon) in the western Indian Ocean, according to African Parks. The dugong, or sea cow, is an IUCN-listed

For Papuan villagers practicing conservation, a bid to formalize the familiar Conservation news

TAMBRAUW, Indonesia It took more than two hours by boat, through a driving rain, to reach the village of Saubeba from the nearest large town of Sausapor in Indonesias West Papua province. There, locals had gathered to discuss a government-backed plan to designate Tambrauw district, of which Saubeba is a part, a conservation zone. On paper, at least, this would seem a no-brainer: 80 percent of the districts nearly 11,400 square kilometers (4,400 square miles) is lush forest that falls within existing conservation or protected areas; its coast is a hatching ground for the rare leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), and its rainforests home to exotic birds-of-paradise (family: Paradisaeidae). The idea to officially designate the entire district a conservation zone came in 2011, following the election of Gabriel Asem as district chief. Tambrauw itself was only established in 2008, as part of the newly formed administrative province of West Papua. Map of West Papua province (green). Photo courtesy of Bwmodular/Wikimedia Commons. Gathered in the downpour that November day in Saubeba, representatives of the various indigenous communities living in the area discussed with local authorities what the conservation designation would mean, not just for the district but also their way of life. Many of us here still dont understand what conservation means, its still unfamiliar [to us], said Bernadus Yewen, a community leader. If it means protecting the forest, then weve been doing it since the time of our ancestors. It was a sentiment widely shared by the others in

Bees for trees: testing a potential tool for reducing human-elephant conflict Conservation news

When times are tough for elephants, knocking over a tree may be the best way to get at the food resources it offers. Trees with bees, however, may avoid damage by hungry elephants, even during a drought. A recent study in South Africas Kruger National Park has found that hanging beehives containing African honeybees from tree branches may protect specific trees and their branches from damage by hungry elephants. Elephants eat tree leaves, branches, and bark, as well as fruits and grass. Photo credit: Sue Palminteri Tree damaged by elephants in Kruger National Park. Photo credit: Sue Palminteri Elephants are known as ecosystem engineers for effectively dispersing large seeds of a variety of trees and for altering their environment by pushing and pulling down trees and branches. This latter behavior may benefit other grazing wildlife and maintain natural grasslands but can be destructive where space for elephants is restricted. As poaching and human-wildlife conflict increasingly threaten populations of elephants and other large mammals, animals crowd into ever-smaller patches of native vegetation, and wildlife managers have turned to protecting them within enclosed reserves. Reserve managers are, however, concerned that the resulting increase in elephant densities and compressing of their natural movement patterns may eliminate large, valuable trees. Earlier studies in southern Africa found that placing wire netting around tree trunks helps to deter elephants from stripping the bark from the tree. However, it does not prevent uprooting or damage to branches. Protecting trees with bees an experiment In response to requests

How will Trump Admin policy rollbacks impact efforts to combat climate change? Conservation news

Given that Donald Trump tweeted in 2012 that he believes concern about global warming is the result of a ploy by China to make American manufacturing less competitive, and then in a 2014 tweet explicitly called global warming a hoax, it was no surprise when his administration moved aggressively to undo the climate actions taken by former President Barack Obama. Trump began exploring ways to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement before he was even sworn into office, and announced on June 1, 2017 that he was officially pursuing withdrawal from the pact signed and ratified by Obama. The soonest any country can formally withdraw is four years after the Paris Agreement went into effect, or 2020 but Trump made it clear at the G20 summit in July that the US would immediately cease any effort to honor the emissions reduction plan (known as a nationally determined contribution or NDC) that the Obama Administration committed to in ratifying the accord. Under Trump, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking to repeal the Clean Power Plan, a key component of Obamas climate legacy that sets limits on greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation, and has gutted numerous other rules and regulations aimed at drawing down emissions, reducing our use of fossil fuels, and otherwise protecting the environment. So what impact will this climate action rollback have? A new analysis from the World Resources Institute (WRI) seeks to answer that question by looking at seven different

Mining concessions in Ecuador stalled over compliance with indigenous rights Conservation news

QUITO, Ecuador Indigenous communities in Ecuador celebrated this week after President Lenin Moreno announced Monday that the government would come down harder on oil and mining companies that dont comply with the countrys social and environmental laws. New mining concessions are now stalled until the companies can prove theyve complied with all regulations under the constitution. This includes article 57, which states that indigenous groups have the right to free and prior consultation before extractive projects take place near their land. This was just one of the agreements President Moreno reached with the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE), the countrys largest indigenous organization. Indigenous groups like CONAIE and the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon (CONFENIAE) seemed content with this new agreement, even though both groups had previously firmly demanded that oil and minerals stay in the ground and that extraction activities in the Amazon stop immediately. Morenos announcement came after his government started receiving more pressure from indigenous groups, demanding it respond to concerns they raised over five months ago. Indigenous protesters in Ecuador. Photo by Kimberley Brown/Mongabay. One of these pressures came in the form of a massive protest on Monday. Over 3,000 indigenous people from across the country gathered in front of the presidential palace in Quito, and banged drums, chanted and shouted anti-government slogans for almost six hours. Most of those present were indigenous nations from the Amazon rainforest, but people came in from all over the country, and included the

Brazil / UK push offshore oil pact, a potential climate change disaster Conservation news

Exploitation of the pre-salt layer off the coast of Brazil could result in the burning of a carbon reserve equivalent to the release of 74.8 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere, potentially compromising the Paris Agreement goal to keep average global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Photo by nate2b on / CC BY-NC-ND Opposing forces within the Temer administration are engaged in a tug-of-war over Brazils dire need to slash greenhouse gas emissions, and its desire to unleash an orgy of deep water drilling off the countrys coast to hugely profit transnational oil companies. Similar is Great Britains divided mind, which at the COP23 Climate Summit last month recommitted to its carbon reduction goals, while plotting a deal to help BP, Shell and other firms drill for 176 billion barrels of Brazilian crude. Pulling in one direction is Brazils Ministry of the Environment which says it is standing firm against fossil fuel exploration expansion the ministry, through its communications office, told Mongabay that it is working to fulfill Brazilian carbon cut commitments made under the Paris Agreement, which was ratified by Brazil on 12 December. Pulling forcefully in the opposite direction is Brazils Presidency of the Republic, with the support of the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME). Both are working aggressively for approval of Provisional Measure (PM) 795/2017 that provides gigantic tax exemption to foreign oil companies operating in deep water offshore in what is known as

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Thursday, 14 December


The Gas Industrys Playbook For Waging Pipeline Fights Frack Check WV

Callous Contempt for Issues Takes Many Forms

Leaked PowerPoint Reveals Your Energy, an industry front group, claims to have recruited 10,000 people to its cause of battling pipeline protesters

From an Article by Alexander C. Kaufman, Huffington Post, December 5, 2017

One of the natural gas industrys top trade associations launched a front group earlier this year to defend new East Coast pipeline proposals against the kind of protests that have targeted oil projects like Keystone XL and Dakota Access.

The American Gas Association-funded group Your Energy now claims it has recruited roughly 10,000 supporters to advocate for its companies and counter protesters who warn that new pipelines threaten to exacerbate climate change, cause environmental damage and violate landowners property rights. The registration number signals the organizations ramped-up effort to shore up political support for new pipeline projects and tip the scales in favor of corporations that already wield disproportionate clout.

Your Energy made up of a national organization and state chapters in Virginia and Connecticut provides research and colorful graphics, runs social media campaigns and gives companies access to a digital war room that tracks pipeline protests, according to an industry presentation from August. Hu Post obtained the PowerPoint after it briefly became accessible on the American Gas Associations website.

There is strong and growing support for the valuable role that natural gas plays in our national energy future and the benefits this fuel brings to our environment and economy, Jake Rubin, an American Gas Association spokesman, said in a statement.

In August, the group claimed 5,436 registrants, including 3,001 in Virginia and 1,054 in Connecticut. Four months later, that total has nearly doubled. The group has broadened its footprint on social media, increasing the number of likes on its main Facebook page from 40,183 to 93,574. Searching for Your Energy America on Facebook lists the page as the top hit, just below Greenpeace USA.

That in itself marks a small victory for the gas lobby. Your Energy builds on a longstanding effort by the fossil fuel industry to paint itself as a mere ideological rival to environmental groups at the opposite end of a political horseshoe.That narrative attempts to reframe the argument against pipelines around jobs and economic de...


Biological Health Hazard Leptospirosis Outbreak (Public Health Threat): Thailand Head Space

Thailand: Leptospirosis sickens eight in Nakhon Si Thammarat The Director General of the Department of Disease Control is advising the public to avoid flood waters after eight people contracted the bacterial infection, leptospirosis, in Nakhon Si Thammarat province in southern Thailand, according to a Krob Krua Kao report (computer translated). In addition, the Director advises []


Geoengineering, Weather Warfare, And The Contrail Deception Geoengineering Watch 33521Dane Wigington Official sources, whos job it is to deny the blatantly obvious climate engineering atrocities, have consistently claimed that the vapor trails seen behind WWll B-17 bombers are proof that we are only seeing condensation trails blotting out our skies. But is this truth? Or could some WWll bombers have been used as a part of


Climate Justice Forum: Poet Rob Lewis on Language about Protecting Nature, Olympia Fracking Sands Blockade, Tacoma Protests of LNG Port, Tesoro Anacortes Refinery Expansion, Idaho Oil & Gas Waste Wells 12-13-17 Wild Idaho Rising Tide

The Wednesday, December 13, 2017 Climate Justice Forum radio program, produced by regional, climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide, features a conversation with poet, activist, house painter, and musician Rob Lewis, about current opportunities to influence political discourse with fresh language about protecting sacred Nature, as demonstrated by indigenous people articulating respectful narratives. We also offer updates and reflections on the Olympia, fracking sands train blockade, Tacoma direct actions and jury trials of opponents of liquefied natural gas facility construction, permit approval and resistance to Tesoro expansion of its Anacortes, petrochemical refinery, and transfer of regulation of Idaho oil and gas waste injection wells. Broadcast for almost six years on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow, every Wednesday between 1:30 and 3 pm Pacific time, on-air at 90.3 FM and online, the show describes continent-wide, community rejection of fossil fuel projects, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.

Filed under: Climate Justice Forum


Analysis: Why scientists think 100% of global warming is due to humans Carbon Brief

The extent of the human contribution to modern global warming is a hotly debated topic in political circles, particularly in the US.

During a recent congressional hearing, Rick Perry, the US energy secretary, remarked that to stand up and say that 100% of global warming is because of human activity, I think on its face, is just indefensible.

However, the science on the human contribution to modern warming is quite clear. Humans emissions and activities have caused around 100% of the warming observed since 1950, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Changes (IPCC) fifth assessment report.

Here Carbon Brief examines how each of the major factors affecting the Earths climate would influence temperatures in isolation and how their combined effects almost perfectly predict long-term changes in the global temperature.

Carbon Briefs analysis finds that:

  • Since 1850, almost all the long-term warming can be explained by greenhouse gas emissions and other human activities.
  • If greenhouse gas emissions alone were warming the planet, we would expect to see about a third more warming than has actually occurred. They are offset by cooling from human-produced atmospheric aerosols.
  • Aerosols are projected to decline significantly by 2100, bringing total warming from all factors closer to warming from greenhouse gases alone.
  • Natural variability in the Earths climate is unlikely to play a major role in long-term warming.
Animation by Rosamund Pearce for Carbon Brief. Images via Alamy Stock Photo.


How much warming is caused by humans?

In its 2013 fifth assessment report, the IPCC stated in its summary for policymakers that it is extremely likely that more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by human activity. By extremely likely, it meant that there was between a 95% and 100% probability that more than half of modern warming was due to humans.

This somewhat convoluted statement has been often misinterpreted as implying that the human responsibility for modern warming lies somewhere between 50% and 100%. In fact, as NASAs Dr Gavin Schmidt has pointed out, the IPCCs...


[In Pictures] Ground Report: People in Narmada Valley Say a Loud No to Chutka Nuclear Project

Through a massive rally and 'chetavani sabha' (warning/cautioning meeting), the people of the region, a majority of whom belong to the Gond adivasi community, sent a clear message to the Central and State Governments, through the local administration that they do not want the nuclear plant which threatens their safety and livelihood, destroys the fragile ecology, and ruthlessly uproots them.

The post [In Pictures] Ground Report: People in Narmada Valley Say a Loud No to Chutka Nuclear Project appeared first on


Arctic air plunges into the Great Lakes, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic The Watchers Latest articles

Arctic air dropping through the northern and eastern U.S. and a storm off the east coast will bring periods of snow, very cold wind chills and hazardous traveling conditions from the Upper Great Lakes to the Northeast today, December 13, 2017. Maximum temperatures...... Read more

TD "Urduja" to become a tropical storm before it hits the Philippines The Watchers Latest articles

Tropical Depression "Urduja" formed December 12, 2017, near Palau and is expected to strengthen into a tropical storm before it makes landfall in Sorsogon - Northern Samar area of the Philippines on December 15. A low-pressure area developed into a...... Read more

Strong and shallow M6.1 earthquake hits Iran, second M6+ of the day The Watchers Latest articles

A strong and shallow earthquake registered by the IRSC as M6.1 hit southeastern Iran at 21:41 UTC on December 12, 2017 (01:11 local time, December 13). The agency is reporting a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles). The USGS is reporting M6.0 at a depth of 10 km. EMSC...... Read more

Extreme Cold Weather Alert issued for Toronto, seek shelter, check on loved ones The Watchers Latest articles

The City of Toronto, Canada has issued an Extreme Cold Weather Alert on Monday, December 12, 2017, that will be in effect until further notice. The warning was issued based on information from Environment Canada, Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto's Medical Officer of...... Read more

Impressive video of a large tornado forming very close to people, Argentina The Watchers Latest articles

A very large tornado formed Friday, December 8, 2017, in Buenos Aires province of Argentina just few hundred meters away from two farmers. The twister swept through several towns with winds between 130 and 200 km/h (80 - 125 mph), destroying everything in its path....... Read more

Geminids: The king of meteor showers peaks December 13 and 14 The Watchers Latest articles

Geminids meteor shower peaks on the night of December 13 and the morning of December 14th, 2017. This is a major (Class I) meteor shower producing up to 120 meteors per hour, some of them bright enough to be classified as fireballs. Since the Moon will be 26 days...... Read more

Light pollution lures nighttime pollinators away from plants Conservation news

Populations of bees, bats, butterflies and other pollinators have been declining for decades due to habitat loss, disease, pesticides and climate change. Now, scientists have documented yet another threat to pollinators: nighttime light pollution. In a recent study in Nature, ecologists showed that plants growing near streetlights were pollinated far less often at night and produced fewer fruits than their unilluminated counterparts. In turn, this may compromise the efficiency of daytime pollinators in the same fields, the authors conclude. Even though daytime pollinators are usually more numerous than nighttime pollinators, they were unable to make up the difference in lost pollination of plants kept under artificial lighting, said Eva Knop, an ecologist at the University of Bern in Switzerland and the studys lead author. Some studies have shown that nighttime pollinators seem to be more effective at transferring pollen between plants than their [daytime] counterparts, Knop told Mongabay. Scientists estimate that one-third of all cash crops depend upon animal-mediated pollination. Many plants receive most of their pollination after dark, especially in tropical and desert climates. These plants attract nocturnal pollinators by producing alluring fragrances and copious amounts of nectar. Nocturnal pollinators swarm around a street light in Virginia, USA. Photo courtesy of Serge Melki Unfortunately, pollinators drawn to lights, such as moths, find artificial light more tantalizing than nectar. Such nighttime emissions have increased by more than 70 percent in North America and Europe over the last two decades, particularly in residential areas, according to published estimates. To determine if

Companies still not doing enough to cut deforestation from commodities supply chains: report Conservation news

The latest Forest 500 rankings are out today from the Global Canopy Programme (GCP), and the main takeaway is that the global companies with the most influence over forests still arent doing enough to cut tropical deforestation out of their supply chains. The annual Forest 500 report analyzes the 250 companies and 150 financial institutions (as well as the 50 most crucial jurisdictions and 50 other powerbrokers) that have the largest potential to prevent tropical deforestation. Every year since 2014 the GCP has assigned scores to each of these entities based on the strength of the policies theyve adopted to address their exposure to deforestation risks from the production of four commodities cattle, palm oil, soy, and timber (which includes pulp and paper) that are collectively responsible for the majority of tropical forest destruction driven by agricultural operations today. This years rankings show that companies have made little progress since last years report, which found that, overall, the Forest 500 were not making enough headway to meet 2020 deforestation targets. Just five companies have since improved their policies enough to score a perfect five out of five in the 2017 rankings. Commitments to root deforestation out of timber and palm oil supply chains did increase, according to the report, but less than one-fourth of the Forest 500 companies have adopted policies to cover all of the commodities in their supply chains. The total number of companies that have received top marks now stands at 18, while 25 companies

Latin America-Europe trade pact to include historic indigenous rights clause Conservation news

A young Guarani-Kaiow man. This indigenous group has lost most of its ancestral land in Brazils Mato Gross Do Sul state. A Photo by percursodacultura on VisualHunt / CC BY-SA International trade negotiators dont historically have a strong track record when it comes to protecting environmental or indigenous rights. So policymakers are hailing as monumental the indigenous human rights assurances to be included in a major trade agreement currently being finalized between Latin America and Europe. It will be the first time that human rights clauses specifically indigenous human rights will be included in a trade agreement between the Mercosur trade bloc (Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay) and the European Union. This is according to Francisco Assis, Chair of the European Parliament Delegation for relations with Mercosur, who spoke at a meeting in Brussels, 20 November 2017. The delegation was held by the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), and in attendance were Members of the European Parliament, Marisa Matias and Francisco Assis; leaders of Brazils Guarani-Kaiow indigenous group, Inaye Lopes Gomes and Daniel Lemes Vasques; along with Brazilian politicians, Janete Capiberibe and Paulo Fernando dos Santos (Brazilian politicians). Guarani-Kaiow leaders, Inane Lopes Gomes and Daniel Lemes Vasques speak at the European Parliament. Photo courtesy of UNPO UNPO project officer, Lukas van Dierman told Mongabay that there is now unprecedented support from the European Union for indigenous rights, which are now being recognized in the groundbreaking trans-continental trade agreement. The Sustainability Impact Assessment for the EU-Mercosur trade deal

Saving Sumatran orchids from deforestation, one plant at a time Conservation news

When tropical forests are felled and converted into land for oil palm or rubber plantations, its easy to think of the orangutans or the tigers that may lose their lives or their habitat. But when trees begin to fall, hundreds of plant species can perish alongside them. Some conservationists on the Indonesian island of Sumatra are fighting to save endangered plants from peril. One of them is Pungky Nanda Pratama. He started off working to save the animals of Sumatra in and around Kerinci Seblat National Park, the islands largest protected area. But over time he began to notice the harmful effects local practices were having on the flora, as well as the fauna. Kerinci Seblat National Park is known as the last refuge of the Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae). Its a huge 14,000-square kilometer (5,400-square mile) park that stretches for 350 kilometers from the middle of the island into its south. But Kerinci Seblat faces a difficult situation. Palm oil, acacia, rubber and other plantation crops pressure it from the outside, while poaching endangers the fauna within. While the area still maintains good tracts of connected forest outside of the protected area, large swathes of previously forested areas have been converted to agriculture. Meanwhile, portions of the parks buffer zone are being turned over for agriculture, according to Pratama. There is no significant encroachment into the national park buffer zone (or park) by plantations with one big exception, Fauna & Flora Internationals team in Kerinci told Mongabay by

Audio: Amazon tribes traditional medicine encyclopedia gets an update, and conservation effectiveness in Madagascar examined Conservation news

On todays episode, well get an update on an ambitious effort to document traditional indigenous healing and medicinal practices in the Amazon and speak with the reporter behind Mongabays popular new series on conservation efforts in Madagascar. Our first guest on todays episode of the Mongabay Newscast is Christopher Herndon, a medical doctor who studied at Yale and Harvard who is currently based at the University of Washington. Herndon, who is on Mongabays board, has worked over the past decade and a half in some of the most remote regions of the Amazon to research the medicinal plant knowledge and healing systems of indigenous peoples. As co-founder and president of the group Acat Amazon Conservation, Herndon has supported the Matss people in planting healing gardens, which are basically living pharmacies as well as classrooms, and to document their traditional healing and plant knowledge in an encyclopedia. Mongabay interviewed Herndon back in 2015 about the first volume of the encyclopedia, and that article went on to become our most shared piece that year. The second volume of the encyclopedia was just completed in September, so we took the opportunity to invite Herndon onto the program to provide us with an update. Our second guest is Mongabay contributor Rowan Moore Gerety, the writer behind our recent series on the effectiveness of conservation interventions in Madagascar. The island nation has been a global conservation priority for decades, receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in conservation funds from international donors but rising deforestation,

Study: RSPO certification prunes deforestation in Indonesia but not by much Conservation news

New research demonstrates that sustainability certification through the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil does cut down on deforestation in Indonesias palm oil industry. But the new study, published online Monday by the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, also says that RSPO standards dont appear to be saving a very large area of forest. Even if were saying theres a significant effect on forests, the amount of forests protected is tiny, Kimberly Carlson, a land systems scientist at the University of Hawaii and the lead author of the study, said in an interview. A recently developed oil palm plantation in Indonesia. Photo courtesy of PNAS. Concerns about the amount of forest cleared for plantations have plagued the palm oil industry for decades. In part, that led to the inception of the RSPO in 2004, which was formed to address the environmental footprint, as well as issues such as land rights and the treatment of workers, in the production of the ubiquitous vegetable oil. But a lingering question has been whether RSPO certification standards diminish deforestation rates. Around 20 percent of the worlds production palm oil in 2015 was certified, and more than half of that comes from Indonesia, according to the RSPO website. To find some answers, Carlson and her colleagues analysis combined data on the boundaries of RSPO-certified and uncertified plantations with satellite imagery showing tree cover loss and fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of the island of Borneo, from 2001 through 2015. During that period,

CITES rejects Madagascars bid to sell rosewood and ebony stockpiles Conservation news

In August, the government of Madagascar drafted a business plan to sell its stockpiles of rosewood and ebony hundreds of thousands of logs. The plan required the approval of CITES, which has banned the trade of all species of Malagasy rosewood (Dalbergia spp.) and ebony (Diospyros spp.) since 2013. On December 1 during a five-day meeting of its standing committee in Geneva, CITES rejected the plan because of the governments lack of progress in tackling the so-called rosewood crisis and its failure, thus far, to audit enough of the stockpiles. Illegal logging of rosewood and other precious timber spiked in Madagascars northeastern rainforests, including in national parks, following a 2009 coup. The logging has since declined but the fate of stockpiled wood has remained an open question. Madagascars government controls only a small portion of the stockpiles. Most of the rosewood covered by the business plan is in declared stockpiles that remain in the possession of timber traders and have never been fully counted or verified. Most observers believe that timber barons have over-declared the number of logs in their stockpiles so that they can keep adding to them, and that the Stockpiled rosewood logs outside the provincial forestry and environment office in the northeastern city of Antalaha fill more than half the courtyard to head-height, but local officials there have no record of how much wood they are charged with securing. Photo by Rowan Moore Gerety for Mongabay. stockpiles are now being used as clearinghouses for newly cut,

Monkey business: Building a global database of primate conservation studies (commentary) Conservation news

Primates are our family. From tiny, delicate golden lion tamarins to impressively muscular gorillas, we are part of the same evolutionary lineage; a tree of life stretching back about 65 million years. But while one primate Homo sapiens has flourished and spread across the planet, about 60 percent of non-human primate species are threatened with extinction. Conservation of these intelligent, complex creatures can be challenging on many levels. We must work wisely towards finding the best solutions to the multi-faceted problems threatening their survival. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, together with researchers at the University of Cambridge (where I work), have just published the results of a three-year project gathering the data on how well primate conservation initiatives have worked to conserve species from lemurs to chimpanzees. The Primate Synopsis collects scientific papers and, where possible, NGO reports, testing conservation interventions actions that conservationists might undertake in order to have a favorable impact on these species. A bonnet macaque chews electrical wires in Valparai, India. Photo by Claire Wordley. A panel of 23 primate experts from around the world identified 162 interventions that could be implemented for primates, and the research team at Max Planck searched nearly 170 conservation journals and newsletters for studies testing them. They summarized all the papers in plain English, so that even conservationists without access to scientific journals can read the findings. The idea is simple: to present the current evidence for every intervention people might do to

Global tropical peatland center to be established in Indonesia Conservation news

JAKARTA The Indonesian government is working with peat experts to establish a global center for tropical peatlands just south of the capital, Jakarta. The details about the proposed institution, in the city of Bogor, will be discussed next year, said Nazir Foead, the head of Indonesias peatland restoration agency (BRG). After that, we will decide on the details of the center, such as its concept, the size of its office and how many people will be involved, he told reporters on the sidelines of an event in Jakarta. The idea behind the center came last month, when 57 peatland experts from various countries issued the Jakarta Declaration on the Responsible Management of Tropical Peatland. One of the five strategies stated in the declaration is the establishment of a tropical peatland center, which will serve as a research and information center. Much of the interest in tropical peatlands revolves around their function as carbon sinks; tropical peatlands are believed to hold more than 30 percent of total global peatland carbon. Nazir said it was only appropriate for a global-scale tropical peatland center to be located in Indonesia, given that the country is home to 36 percent of the worlds tropical peatlands, more than any other country. Indonesia has a mixed record when it comes to managing and protecting its peat forests. Vast swaths of peatland have been lost in recent decades after being drained and cleared for industrial-scale plantations. Drying out the peat renders it highly flammable and risks releasing


FIRE-EARTH Tribunal in Absentia: RPP of Earth Expert Witnesses Testimonies (XXIII) Fire Earth

CJ OCT TML FIRE-EARTH Tribunal: Rape, Pillage and Plunder of Planet Earth (121301) FIRE-EARTH Tribunal in Absentia for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Crimes Against Nature, Rape, Pillage and Plunder (RPP) of Planet Earth Details including Record of Proceedings are available via FIRE-EARTH PULSARS. All Groups Latest FIRE-EARTH ALERTS, FORECASTS, BULLETINS and MESSAGES available []


Worst Fires in Californias History? Some Clarifications Latest News

Lack of defensible space around homes a major reason for extent of destruction, says wildfire ecologist


Climate change tripled chances of Hurricane Harveys record rain Carbon Brief

When Hurricane Harvey struck Texas on August 25, the state was hit by catastrophic flooding caused by record rainfall. In just three days, up to 40 inches (100cm) of rain fell on Houston and its surrounding towns, leaving 80 dead and more than 100,000 homeless.

Now, scientists have calculated that those record rains were made at least three times more likely by climate change.

The analysis also shows that similarly extreme rainfall could become a further three times more likely to occur by the end of the century, even if global warming is limited to 2C.

If no efforts are made to stop the release of greenhouse gases, rainfall events on the same scale as Hurricane Harveys downpour could become up to ten times more likely by 2100, the research finds.

The research was conducted by scientists at the World Weather Attribution (WWA) project, which aims to assess the role of climate change in recent extreme events, such as droughts, heatwaves and floods.

Human influence

At 10pm on Friday 25 August, the category 4 Hurricane Harvey made landfall near Corpus Christi on the southern coast of Texas. By Saturday, it had arrived in Houston, dumping close to 40 inches of rain by Monday morning.

As news coverage tracked the path of Harvey across Texas, much of the coverage began to question how climate change could have influenced the chances of such a disaster.

Three months on, the new analysis, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, attempts to address this question. It is what is known as a single event attribution study.

Single event attribution studies attempt to work out to what extent climate change could have influenced the likelihood of an extreme weather event, when other factors, such as...

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Wednesday, 13 December


VA Water Control Board Narrowly Grants ACP Certification Frack Check WV

VA Water Board gives approval to MVP & ACP


Over vigorous opposition from water experts and citizens, Virginia water board approves conditional permit for Atlantic Coast Pipeline, voting 4 to 3

CONTACTS: Cat McCue, Director of Communications,
and Peter Anderson, Virginia Program Manager,

The Virginia State Water Control Board today approved a heavily amended certification for the proposed fracked-gas Atlantic Coast Pipeline that is conditional on getting outstanding information from state regulators about the projects impacts to water quality. The board voted 4-3 for the certification after a day of vigorous vocal opposition from citizens who have been fighting the pipeline for years. By some accounts, it was the most active, controversial water board meeting in decades.

Yesterday, some 100 people spoke against the project mostly landowners and experts opposed to the pipeline based on its unprecedented impacts on streams, rivers, drinking water supplies, wetlands and groundwater in the commonwealth. In addition, the state received some 15,000 comments from citizens this summer, overwhelmingly in opposition to the pipeline.

The certificate approved today will apparently not be effective until the Department of Environmental Quality has provided all outstanding information and the board determines the project would not violate clean water standards. The move follows the boards vote last week approving the equally controversial fracked-gas Mountain Valley Pipeline, but without the conditional approval.

Appalachian Voices along with other organizations and countless community groups and citizens along the routes of the proposed pipelines have been fighting the controversial projects since they were announced in 2014. Thousands have voiced their opposition to both these pipelines based on evidence that they cannot be built without violating the federal Clean Water Act and the boards obligation under Virginia law. Appalachian Voices and many others highlighted repeatedly that DEQ failed to provide the board with critical information, including erosion and stormwater control plans and analysis of individual water crossings. This information is fundamental for the board to make a rational decision about the projects impacts to our waters.

Peter Anderson, Virginia Program Manager of Appalachian Voices, a leading nonprofit advocate for healthy communities and just economies in Appal...


Biological Health Hazard Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV infection outbreak): Mexico Head Space

Cases of respiratory syncytial virus have increased by 900 percent so far this winter season [2017-18] in Mexico. RESPIRATORY SYNCYTIAL VIRUS MEXICO: CASE SURGE ****************** Published Date: 2017-12-11 10:35:01 Subject: PRO/EDR> Respiratory syncytial virus Mexico: case surge Archive Number: 20171211.5492478 Date: Thu 7 Dec 2017 Source: Contramuro [in Spanish, trans. Mod.MPP] Cases of []


Nuclear Event (Manual Reactor Scram) Unanalyzed Condition, Hot Shutdown: Clinton Power Station, Unit 1, Illinois Head Space

North America USA | State of Illinois, Clinton Power Station, Unit 1 Location: 401020.0N 885006.0W Present Operational Age: ~30 years Event: MANUAL REACTOR SCRAM DUE TO LOSS OF DIVISION 1 AC POWER TO NUMEROUS COMPONENTS Emergency Class: NON EMERGENCY 10 CFR Section: 50.72(b)(2)(iv)(B) RPS ACTUATION CRITICAL 50.72(b)(3)(v)(C) POT UNCNTRL RAD REL []


Nuclear Event Manual Reactor Trip Multiple dropped control rods: Watts Bar Nuclear Plant (Unit 2), Tennessee Head Space

North America USA | State of Tennessee, Rhea County, Spring City, Watts Bar Nuclear Plant Location: 353610.0N 844722.0W Site Operational Age: ~32 years Event: MANUAL REACTOR TRIP IN RESPONSE TO INDICATION OF MULTIPLE DROPPED CONTROL RODS Emergency Class: NON EMERGENCY 10 CFR Section: 50.72(b)(2)(iv)(B) RPS ACTUATION CRITICAL 50.72(b)(3)(iv)(A) VALID SPECIF SYS ACTUATION Nuclear Event []


Why Trump Opening Public Lands for Uranium Mining Must Be Opposed: Watch Video

The Trump Administration is effectively selling off public lands to a uranium mining company. Cenk Uygur, host of The Young Turks, breaks it down.

The post Why Trump Opening Public Lands for Uranium Mining Must Be Opposed: Watch Video appeared first on


Birth Defects Near Hanford: Watch Interview with Plutonia Author Prof. Kate Brown

Interview with Prof. Kate Brown author of Plutopia: Nuclear Families in Atomic Cities and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters about the high number of cases of rare birth defects near the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

The post Birth Defects Near Hanford: Watch Interview with Plutonia Author Prof. Kate Brown appeared first on


Shipping industry must take urgent action to meet Paris climate goals Carbon Brief

A declaration launched today at the One Planet climate summit hosted by French president Emmanuel Macron has urged the shipping industry to meet the Paris climate goals.

The Tony de Brum declaration named after the celebrated Marshallese politician who died earlier this year calls for shipping to take urgent action to contribute to meeting the 2C and 1.5C goals of the Paris accord.

The declaration was released at the summit in the French capital, which marks two years since the Paris Agreement on climate change was adopted in the city.

It was signed by 35 countries, including the UK, France, Denmark, Germany, Canada, the Marshall Islands, Chile and New Zealand.

Shipping produces at least 2% of global CO2 emissions, but the International Maritime Organisation, the London-based UN agency responsible for regulating shipping, has struggled to set its own emissions reduction target.

Other key news from the summit included an announcement from the World Bank that it will largely stop financing oil and gas exploration after 2019. In addition, Macron described Donald Trumps announcement in July that he intends withdraw the US from the Paris accord as extremely aggressive.

The new shipping declaration comes amid a current push wit...


Virginia Water Control Board Vote Today: Dominion CANNOT Build Controversial Pipeline in VA Without More Study Chesapeake Climate Action Network

Last-minute Delay of Permit Seen as Positive Step by Landowners and Environmentalists in Fight Over Dominions Atlantic Coast Pipeline for Fracked Gas

More Information Needed, Board Says. Decision is a Rebuke of Governor Terry McAuliffes Unwavering Support for the Controversial Pipeline; CCAN Looks to Governor-elect Northams Administration to Protect Virginias Waters

Summary: Bowing to unprecedented opposition from landowners and environmentalists, the Virginia State Water Control Board today threw a wrench in the plans of Governor Terry McAuliffe and Dominion Energy to build the Atlantic Coast Pipeline for fracked gas. The board voted 4-3 to approve the project under section 401 of the Clean Water Act, but dependent on a final review of several environmental studies. The vote delays Dominions plan to begin near-term construction of the 600-mile pipeline. The decision likely means this issue will be delayed into 2018 and into the administration of Governor-elect Ralph Northam, who has taken a less openly supportive stance on the pipeline due to environmental concerns.

Statement from Mike Tidwell, Executive Director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network:

In a setback for notorious polluter Dominion Energy, the Virginia State Water Control Board today sided with landowners and environmentalists in calling for more rigorous and comprehensive review of the controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline. After being ignored for years by Governor Terry McAuliffe and Dominion, the voices of everyday Virginians were finally heard and we will work tirelessly to make sure all the facts can come to the table. CCAN and our allies have argued all along that any science-based and transparent review of all the harmful impacts of the ACP can only result in official and final denial of Dominions radical pipeline for fracked gas.

Now Virginians are counting on the Administration of Governor-elect Ralph Northam to do what the McAuliffe Administration failed to do: let science and the law guide decision-making on the pipeline.


The Board bucked enormous pressure from Governor McAuliffes Administration, which was pressuring Board members to approve the pipeline without undergoing the in-depth analysis that a project at this scale requires. The Board voted to delay certification for the pipeline until after the Governors Department of Environmental Quality can review and give final approval to erosion and sediment control plans, stormwater management plans, and studies of sensitive karst terrain. While an outright denial of the project was warr...


Let them eat radioactive yellowcake: Trumps message to the indigenous communities as US reopens uranium mines

Last week, President Donald Trump announced he was summarily reducing the Bears Ears National Monument by 85 percent, thereby opening archaeologically rich sites to uranium mining.

The post Let them eat radioactive yellowcake: Trumps message to the indigenous communities as US reopens uranium mines appeared first on


Entering the Era of Border Walls Latest News

Climate change, global migration, and border enforcement are coming to an explosive head


FIRE-EARTH Tribunal in Absentia: RPP of Earth Expert Witnesses Testimonies (XXII) Fire Earth

CJ OCT TML FIRE-EARTH Tribunal: Rape, Pillage and Plunder of Planet Earth (Session 20) FIRE-EARTH Tribunal in Absentia for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Crimes Against Nature, Rape, Pillage and Plunder (RPP) of Planet Earth Resolution 1333 has been unanimously approved. Details including Record of Proceedings are available via FIRE-EARTH PULSARS. All Groups Latest []

Tuesday, 12 December


What the Water Control Board hearings really tell us Chesapeake Climate Action Network

On Thursday, December 7, the Virginia Water Control Board voted to certify that there was reasonable assurance that the Mountain Valley Pipeline would not harm Virginias water quality, subject to about a dozen conditions. Two board members Roberta Kellam and Nissa Dean dissented, while five voted in favor.

The entire process extremely problematic. The Board was missing at least three critical pieces of information: (1) complete karst studies; (2) a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers, which looks at impacts to streams, wetlands, other waters of the United States; and (3) site-specific erosion and sediment control and stormwater management plans.

Throughout the hearing, Board members themselves expressed concern that they were being asked to put the cart before the horse.

In reviewing the Mountain Valley Pipeline (and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline), the DEQ developed a new permitting process. Last weeks hectic decision made it clear that both the DEQ and the Water Control Board did not completely understand the new process and its implications. This new pipeline permitting process for the first time considered upland activities, that is, what happens to water quality when you clear steep mountains of all vegetation, and deferred to the U.S. Army Corps review of stream crossings.

At the State Water Control Board meeting, some board members, led by Robert Wayland, expressed skepticism that the Army Corps review would be sufficient to protect water quality no matter if the Army Corps issues the same blanket one-size-fits-all permit it issues for most pipeline projects or actually does an individual review. The board attached an amendment to the permit that attempted to preserve its right to review stream crossings after the Army Corps issues its permit. The idea would be that the DEQ would present to the Water Control Board about whether the Army Corps permit was good enough, and, if not, the state could do its own review. Its not clear, however, whether this attempt by the board to preserve its right to review stream crossings will stick. MVP now has a 401 certification that it can take to FERC. If FERC allows MVP to proceed, the state of Virginia would have to ask FERC for a rehearing, FERC could issue a tolling order, and the process could drag on while MVP starts to build. More broadly, this was the Boards chance to look at the cumulative impacts to water quality from upland activities plus stream crossings, and it failed to look at the big picture.

The Board added a couple of additional conditions that arent too clear, related to expanding the width for a stream crossing and about successor-in-interest liability.

Governor McAuliffe and his administration have had their thumb on the scale for these projects from the very beginning, and that was evident at the hearing....

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