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On The Environment

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Going the Distance: An Update on Efforts to Address Emissions in the Aviation and Maritime Sector

Aviation and maritime transportation make up an important part of the transportation sector—so, too, are the emissions associated from their fuel use. This article reflects on the progress made to address greenhouse gas emissions within the International Civil Aviation Organization and International Maritime Organization, and presents a blueprint of activity within the coming year.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Pilgrim’s Wilderness: A True Story of Faith and Madness on the Alaska Frontier

Tom Kizzia's recent book Pilgrim’s Wilderness: A True Story of Faith and Madness on the Alaska Frontier, one of Amazon’s best books of 2013, details the strange (but true) journey of the self-proclaimed Papa Pilgrim, who established his wife and fifteen children in America’s largest national park in south-central Alaska. The family's attempts to develop their property inside the park touched off one of the most-visible controversies between environmentalists, government officials and local land-rights advocates in a generation. Join us for an inside look at the story on Wednesday, April 23.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The New Farm Bill + Sustainable Farming Systems: A Conversation with Ariane Lotti

On Wednesday, April 16, we will continue our conversation about the farm bill and the future of farming with Ariane Lotti, assistant policy director at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. Lotti will speak with us about how the 2014 farm bill shapes emerging alternative food systems and will give us insight into spaces for subsidy reform in the coming years.

How the Public Trust Doctrine Can Save Us from the Perils of Climate Change

University of Oregon environmental and natural resources law Professor Mary Christina Wood tries to minimize her personal travel to reduce her carbon footprint.   But as a professor, she believes that it is extremely important to constantly engage with future leaders who will have to deal with the growing impacts of climate change.  That is why she traveled across the nation to offer her expertise at the Yale Law School on April 3rd

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Short of a Sea Change: Alternatives for 21st Century Farmers

In response to Craig Cox’s March 26th webinar, “The Farm Bill and the Environment: Missed Opportunities and Where to Next” and audience members’ unanswered questions, I’ve dedicated this blog to looking at a variety of techniques available to farmers that reduce the environmental impact of modern farming. One might call them “sustainable” farming techniques, insofar as they implement more ecologically minded thinking into a system completely decoupled from such considerations. In the very least, these practices offer farmers concerned about what’s happening to our nation’s soil, ground- and surface waters, and insect pollinators (just to name a few) methods to mitigate the damage. While none of these practices represent a “silver bullet” solution to what we’ve come to realize is a flawed agricultural system, they are responses to the question that Craig Cox posed to listeners at the very end of his webinar: “What do we want from agriculture? Mountains of corn? Or something different, like clean water?”


This being Earth Day, I call your attention to the 2014 edition of the Environmental Performance Index, a massive inventory of global progress, stasis and backsliding on all things environmental. Issued biennially by researchers at Yale and Columbia universities, the EPI ranks 178 countries of the world in ways that may test some of your preconceptions.
A report released by the World Health Organization last week found that some 7 million people died from air pollution exposure in 2012. In other words, one in eight of all global deaths that year resulted from breathing bad air.
The signing of an agreement with the Chinese for construction of four 660MW power plants at Gadani has come at a time when Pakistan’s three major cities — Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta — have been declared by the World Health Organisation to be among the 10 most polluted cities in the year 2011.
Iranian Department of Environment Protection is developing a plan to incorporate environmental concepts in school curricula acros the country in cooperation with the Ministry of Education.
Businesses and the public can keep watch when governments fail to provide environmental data, say Angel Hsu and colleagues.
The alarming level of environmental pollution in Nepal is there for everyone to see and feel. The country ranks dismally in virtually all global indices of pollution—in terms of water resources, sanitation, or biodiversity and habitat conservation. But the most worrying is undoubtedly the dangerous air pollution levels that Nepal is now witnessing.
Air pollution kills around 7 million people every year, accounting for one in eight deaths worldwide, according to a report from the World Heath Organization (WHO) released March 25. Thankfully, the problem is getting more media attention.
Amidst headlines detailing off-the-charts air pollution in Beijing, it may come as a surprise that China’s latest environmental scorecard does boast bright spots. The 2014 Yale Environmental Performance Index (EPI) – a biennial global ranking of how well countries perform on a range of critical environmental issues – ranks China at 118 out of 178 countries. With respect to other emerging economies with rapid growth and development, China does not fare as well overall as Brazil (77th), Russia (73rd), or South Africa (72th), but is considerably ahead of India, which ranked 155th. However, China is a leader in addressing climate change and is taking corrective action to address weaknesses.
Only three of the 74 Chinese cities monitored by the central government managed to meet official minimum standards for air quality last year, the Ministry of Environmental Protection announced this week, underscoring the country’s severe pollution problems.

Switzerland Tops the 2014 Environmental Performance Index
Switzerland leads the world in addressing environmental challenges, according to the 2014 Environmental Performance Index (EPI). Luxembourg, Australia, Singapore, and Czech Republic round out the top five positions of the Index, which ranks countries on high-priority environmental concerns including air quality, water management, and climate change.

Upcoming Events

Towards Environmental Transformations: Lessons from the European Union for Building Effective Global Sustainability Governance

Thursday, May 1, 05:00
Please join the GEM Initiative and YCELP on May 1 at 5:00pm for a talk with Professor Hans Bruyninckx, Executive Director, European Environment Agency
LOCATION: Burke Auditorium, Kroon Hall | 195 Prospect Street, New Haven, CT

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