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The Convention on Biological Diversity targets protect biodiversity only if new protected areas are more than "paper parks"

Protected areas are the cornerstone to prevent species extinctions. The Convention on Biological Diversity have set a target to protect 17% of all terrestrial land by 2020.

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Biodiversity: 11 new species come to light in Madagascar

Madagascar is home to extraordinary biodiversity, but in the past few decades, the island's forests and associated biodiversity have been under greater attack than ever. Rapid deforestation is affecting the biotopes of hundreds of species, including the panther chameleon, a species with spectacular intra-specific colour variation. A new study by Michel Milinkovitch, professor of genetics, evolution, and biophysics at the University of Geneva (UNIGE), led in close collaboration with colleagues in Madagascar, reveals that this charismatic reptilian species, which is only found in Madagascar, is actually composed of eleven different species. The results of their research appear in the latest issue of the Molecular Ecology journal. They also discuss the urgent need to protect Madagascar's habitats.

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Inland ice in Antarctica melting fast

Many glaciers on the Southern Antarctic Peninsula (SAP) -- a region previously thought to be stable compared to other glacier masses in Antarctica -- became destabilized in 2009, and they have been melting at accelerating rates ever since, researchers say. These glaciers, which rest on bedrock that dips below sea level toward the continent's interior, help to buttress inland ice shelves -- but their structures are presumed to be unstable.

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Fine particulate air pollution associated with increased risk of childhood autism

Exposure to fine particulate air pollution during pregnancy through the first two years of a child's life may be associated with an increased risk of the child developing autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a condition that affects one in 68 children, according to a University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health investigation of children in southwestern Pennsylvania.

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New evidence links Arctic warming with severe weather in countries including the US and UK

Professor Edward Hanna and PhD student Richard Hall, from the University of Sheffield's Department of Geography, are part of a select group of international climate scientists investigating links between Arctic climate change and extreme weather in the northern mid-latitudes.

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Drexel researchers examine broad range of air pollutants in fracking emissions in Marcellus Shale region

A team led by environmental engineers from Drexel University are the first independent researchers to take a closer look at the air quality effects of natural gas extraction in the Marcellus Shale region of Pennsylvania. The group used a mobile air quality monitoring vehicle to survey regional air quality and pollutant emissions at 13 sites including wells, drilling rigs, compressor stations and processing areas. Their work establishes baseline measurements for this relatively new area of extraction.

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With China's help, Pakistan turns desert into a sea of solar panels

One of the world’s largest solar plants has been opened in Pakistan with the aim of supplying clean, reliable energy and helping alleviate the country’s chronic power shortages.

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Climate change altering frequency, intensity of hurricanes

Climate change may be the driving force behind fewer, yet more powerful hurricanes and tropical storms, says a Florida State geography professor.

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Celebrities and the U.S. Government Come Together on World Environment Day to Support Combating Wildlife Trafficking

In February 2014, President Obama highlighted wildlife trafficking as a national security issue, noting that this crime is decimating iconic animal populations and undermines security across nations. Wildlife trafficking is wreaking havoc on particularly vulnerable animal populations across the globe, and stands as both a critical conservation concern and a threat to global security. There is a dire need for the public to understand the importance of not purchasing illegal wildlife and wildlife products, and the larger impact that consumers play in this vicious cycle. The only way to fully address this cross-cutting issue is to raise awareness among the demand markets, including the United States, which is a major market for both illegal and legal wildlife products.

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Weather events taken to extremes by climate change

As temperatures soar to record heights, blame it on global warming − but only about three-quarters of the time. And when the rain comes down by the bucketful, you can attribute one downpour in five to climate change.

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Petition Seeks Emergency Moratorium on Imports into U.S. of Salamanders for Pet Trade to Prevent Disease Spread

The Center for Biological Diversity and Save the Frogs today filed a formal petition to the Interior secretary seeking an emergency moratorium on the import of salamanders for the pet trade to prevent introduction of the deadly fungus Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) into the United States. Bsal is a highly virulent pathogen from Asia spreading through the salamander pet trade and killing wild salamanders; it has already nearly wiped out wild fire salamanders in the Netherlands and Belgium. A real risk exists that it could be spread to the United States.

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Cornell Lab Documentary Highlights Threatened Sage-Grouse on PBS Nature, May 20

One of the biggest conservation challenges in the nation's history is coming to a head this year and it is resting on the shoulders of an increasingly rare bird—the Greater Sage-Grouse. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology's film, The Sagebrush Sea, reveals the hidden world of this iconic species at a time when its fate is being decided in state houses, agencies, and courtrooms across the West and in the nation's capital.

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U.S. beekeepers lost 40 percent of bees in 2014-15

Beekeepers across the United States lost more than 40 percent of their honey bee colonies during the year spanning April 2014 to April 2015, according to the latest results of an annual nationwide survey. While winter loss rates improved slightly compared to last year, summer losses--and consequently, total annual losses--were more severe. Commercial beekeepers were hit particularly hard by the high rate of summer losses, which outstripped winter losses for the first time in five years, stoking concerns over the long-term trend of poor health in honey bee colonies.

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Shell Arctic exploration conditional approval "a backward move"

In what WWF-US has termed "a backward move" the US government has given conditional approval to Royal Dutch Shell to conduct exploratory drilling for oil in the Chukchi Sea in America’s Arctic ocean.

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Indigenous Lawyer and American Doctor call on Canadian MPs and Senators to push for regulation on fracking

This morning, Indigenous lawyer Caleb Behn, pediatrician Dr. Kathleen Nolan, and Council of Canadians water campaigner Emma Lui presented to Members of Parliament and Senators urging meaningful action from the federal government on fracking. Elected officials in attendance included NDP Member of Parliament François Choquette, Liberal environment critic John Mackay, Green Party leader Elizabeth May, Senator Richard Neufeld, Senator Kelvin Ogilvie, Liberal water critic Francis Scarpaleggia and Senator Judith Seidman.

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Vineyard habitats help butterflies return

Washington wine grape vineyards experimenting with sustainable pest management systems are seeing an unexpected benefit: an increase in butterflies.

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Federal Court in Alaska Grants Shell Preliminary Injunction, Greenpeace Response

Today, a federal court in Anchorage granted Royal Dutch Shell a far-reaching injunction against Greenpeace USA and potentially against other Arctic defenders around the world. This injunction extends beyond the United States Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and into international waters, as well as stipulating that anyone “acting in concert” with Greenpeace USA could also be subject to the injunction.

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Tree-based farming could deliver abundant benefits

Forests may be the green investment with the richest returns for humankind, according to new research.

While one study outlines the ways in which forests provide food, fuel, shelter and a safety net for more than a billion humans, a separate one confirms that a canopy of older, sturdier trees helps protect the saplings and juvenile growths against heat and drought.

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Environmental exposure to hormones used in animal agriculture greater than expected

Research by an Indiana University environmental scientist and colleagues at universities in Iowa and Washington finds that potentially harmful growth-promoting hormones used in beef production are expected to persist in the environment at higher concentrations and for longer durations than previously thought.

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Vulnerable grassland birds abandon mating sites near wind turbines

Shifting to renewable energy sources has been widely touted as one of the best ways to fight climate change, but even renewable energy can have a downside, as in the case of wind turbines' effects on bird populations. In a new paper in The Condor: Ornithological Applications, a group of researchers demonstrate the impact that one wind energy development in Kansas has had on Greater Prairie-Chickens (Tympanuchus cupido) breeding in the area. Virginia Winder of Benedictine College, Andrew Gregory of Bowling Green State University, Lance McNew of Montana State University, and Brett Sandercock of Kansas State University monitored prairie-chicken leks, or mating sites, before and after turbine construction and found that leks within eight kilometers of turbines were more likely to be abandoned.

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Ethanol refining may release more of some pollutants than previously thought

Ethanol fuel refineries could be releasing much larger amounts of some ozone-forming compounds into the atmosphere than current assessments suggest, according to a new study that found emissions of these chemicals at a major ethanol fuel refinery are many times higher than government estimates.

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USGS: Dam Removal Study Reveals River Resiliency

More than 1,000 dams have been removed across the United States because of safety concerns, sediment buildup, inefficiency or having otherwise outlived usefulness. A paper published today in Science finds that rivers are resilient and respond relatively quickly after a dam is removed.

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Warm oceans caused hottest Dust Bowl years in 1934/36

Two ocean hot spots have been found to be the potential drivers of the hottest summers on record for the Central US in 1934 and 1936. The research may also help modern forecasters predict particularly hot summers over the central United States many months out.

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The Toxic Truth About A New Generation of Nonstick and Waterproof Chemicals

Ten years ago, DuPont was forced to phase out a key chemical in making Teflon, after revelations that for nearly 45 years the company covered up evidence of its health hazards, including cancer and birth defects. But a new EWG investigation finds that the chemicals pushed by DuPont and other companies to replace the Teflon chemical and similar perfluorinated compounds, or PFCs – already in wide use in food wrappers and outdoor clothing – may not be much – if at all – safer.

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Gravity data show that Antarctic ice sheet is melting increasingly faster

During the past decade, Antarctica's massive ice sheet lost twice the amount of ice in its western portion compared with what it accumulated in the east, according to Princeton University researchers who came to one overall conclusion -- the southern continent's ice cap is melting ever faster.

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Tropical marine ecosystems most at threat from human impact

An international team of scientists has used the fossil record during the past 23 million years to predict which marine animals and ecosystems are at greatest risk of extinction from human impact.

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Sustainability Progress Should Precede Seafood Market Access, Researchers Urge

Demand for seafood from wild fisheries and aquaculture around the world has nearly doubled over the past four decades. In the past several years, major seafood retailers in developed countries have committed to source their seafood from only sustainably certified fisheries and aquaculture, even though it is not clear where that supply will come from.

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Pesticides alter bees' brains, making them unable to live and reproduce adequately

In research report published in the May 2015 issue of The FASEB Journal, scientists report that a particular class of pesticides called "neonicotinoids" wreaks havoc on the bee populations, ultimately putting some crops that rely on pollination in jeopardy. Specifically, these pesticides kill bee brain cells, rendering them unable to learn, gather food and reproduce. The report, however, also suggests that the effects of these pesticides on bee colonies may be reversible by decreasing or eliminating the use of these pesticides on plants pollenated by bees and increasing the availability of "bee-friendly" plants available to the insects.

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U.S. Conservation Group Files Complaint Against Channel 4's "The Island With Bear Grylls" for Endangered Crocodile-eating Episode

The Center for Biological Diversity filed a formal complaint today against Channel 4’s “The Island With Bear Grylls” for an episode that aired last week in which contestants dropped on an island and challenged to survive killed and ate an endangered American crocodile. The American conservation organization’s complaint asks that Ofcom, the regulator of communications in the United Kingdom, prosecute the British public-service television network for broadcasting harmful and offensive material.

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Organic farming can reverse the agriculture ecosystem from a carbon source to a carbon sink

Approximately 35% of global greenhouse gases (GHGs) come from agriculture. Some argues that human can reverse global worming by sequestering several hundred billion tons of excess CO2 through regenerative, organic farming, ranching and land use. Increasing the soil's organic content will not only fix carbon and reduce emissions, it will also improve the soil's ability to retain water and nutrients and resist pests and droughts.

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