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Tuesday, January 27 2015

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If You Buy Ivory, You Kill People: The Human Toll of Ivory Trafficking

The Elephant Action League (EAL) today announced the launch of a new campaign to address the human toll of the global ivory trade in the coming year. EAL analysts are immediately available for interview or further commentary on the issue.

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British Frackers Face Mounting Opposition

It could all be over before it even began. The boom could turn to bust before a well is even drilled. The British fracking industry now faces growing resistance from numerous influential voices. The industry could be heading for melt-down.

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Ocean Advocates Call upon Supermarkets to Help Restore Balance to Alaska's Bering Sea

Today, Greenpeace, Marine Conservation Institute and Mission Blue (Sylvia Earle Alliance) launched an ad campaign in Seattle targeting the seafood industry and urging protection of Alaska’s Bering Sea canyons. The campaign, which includes billboards and posters throughout the city, as well as online ads, calls upon Costco, Target and Albertsons – a group representing major US retailers that sell Bering Sea seafood – to help restore balance to this critical ocean ecosystem. The organizations are asking companies to sign onto a 2020 Vision to protect 20 percent of US ocean waters by 2020, starting with the Bering Sea canyons, known as “the Grand Canyons of the Sea.”

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Blended ecological knowledge systems yield insight for managing beargrass, other culturally important forest plants

In a study that blended tribal cultural knowledge with scientific methods, U.S. Forest Service researchers identified the ecological conditions of forest sites preferred by harvesters of beargrass for use in traditional weaving.

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South Africa confirms 2014 worst on record for rhino poaching

Official figures released today by South Africa confirmed that 2014 was the worst on record for rhino poaching.

A total of 1,215 rhinos were poached in South Africa in 2014, an average of more than three animals per day or 100 per month.

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Endangered chimpanzees may experience drastic habitat loss within 5 years

Dramatic habitat loss by 2020 threatens the population of the planet's most endangered chimp subspecies, according to research published in BMC Evolutionary Biology. The work suggests that climate change could do more harm to chimpanzee populations than previously realised.

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Biggest fish in the ocean receives international protection

Whale sharks are among the largest living fish in the world - weighing up to 40,000 pounds and 40 feet in length. They are also so docile that humans often swim with them without concern, snapping photographs of their incredible size.

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Climate change threatens 30 years of sea turtle conservation success

A new University of Central Florida study is sounding the alarm about climate change and its potential impact on more than 30 years of conservation efforts to keep sea turtles around for the next generation.

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Lawsuit Filed to Secure "Endangered" Status for Gunnison Sage Grouse

The Center for Biological Diversity and Western Watersheds Project filed a federal lawsuit today challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to protect the Gunnison sage grouse as “threatened” rather than giving it the more protective “endangered” status under the Endangered Species Act. Despite having considered the species to be fully endangered, the Fish and Wildlife Service downgraded the species’ status to threatened after intense pressure from industry groups and states.

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Study: Melting glaciers have big carbon impact

As the Earth warms and glaciers all over the world begin to melt, researchers and public policy experts have focused largely on how all of that extra water will contribute to sea level rise.

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Gold rush leaves tropical forests poorer than ever

The natural wealth of South America’s tropical forests is at growing risk from demand for its minerals − and specifically its gold.

Researchers says that a veritable global gold rush has led to a significant increase of deforestation in the region’s forests, and is having a growing environmental impact on some of the most biologically important areas in the tropics.

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Humans at risk from planetary-scale activities (VIDEO)

The accelerated impacts of human activity on the Earth over the past 60 years have reached "planetary-scale" proportions, in turn driving the earth into a new geological age, new research says.

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Wildlife loss in the global ocean

Over the past 500 years, approximately 500 land-based animal species have gone the way of the dodo, becoming extinct as a result of human activity. In the ocean, where scientists count only 15 or so such losses, the numbers currently aren't nearly as dire.

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Global sea level increase has been more intense than previously understood, study says

The acceleration of global sea level change from the end of the 20th century through the last two decades has been significantly swifter than scientists thought, according to a new Harvard study.

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Illinois Governor Quinn Vetoes Bobcat Hunting Bill

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn vetoed House Bill 4226, which would have legalized bobcat hunting and trapping in the state.

The Humane Society of the United States, other animal protection groups, environmental organizations, the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times all opposed the bill. The legislation would have allowed bobcats to be killed using the most inhumane and unsporting methods – including being chased down by packs of dogs and caught in painful steel-jawed leghold traps—for the first time in four decades.

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Federally Approved "Take" of Grizzly Bears Threatens Recovery

Recent federal approvals for the lethal “taking” of 15 grizzly bears in Grand Teton National Park and the Upper Green River area of northwest Wyoming threaten to push grizzly mortalities beyond sustainable levels in the Yellowstone region, according to conservation groups. Today, those groups gave notice of their intent to file suit to protect the grizzlies.

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Global warming reduces wheat production markedly if no adaptation takes place

Future global wheat harvest is likely to be reduced by six per cent per each degree Celsius of local temperature increase if no adaptation takes place. Worldwide this would correspond to 42 million tons of yield reduction, which equals a quarter of current global wheat trade.

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Hello People, Goodbye Soil: Humans erode soil 100 times faster than nature

A new study shows that removing native forest and starting intensive agriculture can accelerate erosion so dramatically that in a few decades as much soil is lost as would naturally occur over thousands of years.

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U.S. Government Agrees to Implement Seafood Import Ban to Protect Whales and Dolphins

In a landmark settlement reached yesterday, the U.S. government agreed to adopt new rules that ensure seafood imported into the United States meets high standards for protecting whales and dolphins. The long-delayed regulations will require foreign fisheries to meet the same marine mammal protection standards required of U.S. fishermen or be denied import privileges, thus implementing a 40-year-old provision of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

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Florida Population Now Tops New York's, But Boom Is a Bust for Wildlife

Florida has surpassed New York to become the third-most populous state in the country, according to U.S. Census Bureau population estimates released today. The news comes as Florida’s unique biodiversity faces increasing threats from habitat loss, urban sprawl and development, water withdrawals, sea-level rise and other effects of rapid human population growth in the region.

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Light pollution: American cities are many times brighter than German counterparts

German cities emit several times less light per capita than comparably sized American cities, according to a recent publication in the journal Remote Sensing. The size of the gap grew with city size, as light per capita increased with city size in the USA but decreased with city size in Germany. The study also examined regional differences, and surprisingly found that light emission per capita was higher in cities in the former East of Germany than from those in the former West.

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Satellite provides sharper picture of shrinking ice sheet

Greenland’s ice sheet shrank by an average of 243 billion tonnes a year between 2003 and 2009 – a rate of melting that is enough to raise the world’s sea levels by 0.68 mm per year.

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Palm oil plantation crime drives illegal logging in Indonesia

The clear-cutting of forests to make way for oil palm plantations is driving a wave of illegal logging in Indonesia, fundamentally undermining efforts to bring much-needed reform to the nation’s forestry and timber sectors.

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Report: 122 Species of Colombian Birds Facing Extinction

A new study, The State of the Birds in Colombia 2014, produced by a leading conservation group in Colombia, Fundación ProAves, reports that decades of deteriorating ecosystem conditions have led to 122 of the country’s 1,903 bird species now facing extinction.

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Federal and Local Action Needed to Protect Hawaii's Spinner Dolphins

The best way to protect wild spinner dolphins in Hawaii while also maintaining the local tourism industry that depends on them is through a combination of federal regulations and community-based conservation measures, finds a new study from Duke University.

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New Report Documents Human Impacts of Marcellus Shale Drilling in Pa.

Communities in Pennsylvania experiencing high-intensity Marcellus Shale drilling also are seeing significant increases in crime, housing costs, traffic fatalities and their rate of sexually transmitted diseases, a new analysis from the Multi-State Shale Research Collaborative released today confirmed.

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Global CO2 emissions increase to new all-time record, but growth is slowing down

2013 saw global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use and cement production reach a new all-time high. This was mainly due to the continuing steady increase in energy use in emerging economies over the past ten years. However, emissions increased at a notably slower rate (2%) than on average in the last ten years (3.8% per year since 2003, excluding the credit crunch years).

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Urban Stream Contamination in U.S. Increasing Rapidly Due to Road Salt

Average chloride concentrations often exceed toxic levels in many northern United States streams due to the use of salt to deice winter pavement, and the frequency of these occurrences nearly doubled in two decades.

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Climate policy pledges are an important step forward but fall short of 2°C

Pledges to reduce emissions in China, Europe and the US provide an important step forward for climate change action, but a more comprehensive effort is needed to stabilize the climate below critical thresholds. Climate finance can cover investment gaps and alleviate distributional tensions, a new study shows.

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Deep concern over invisible threat to Antarctic glaciers

The Antarctic ice shelf is under threat from a silent, invisible agency – and the rate of melting of glaciers has trebled in the last two decades.

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