Conservation News

 
 

Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught
will we realise we cannot eat money.

Cree Proverb

 

 RSS Feed

  1. Greenpeace's EnergyDesk reports that the new President of South Korea, Moon Jae-in, has commited South Koare to phasing out all coal and nuclear power stations.

    This suggests a major change in the country's energy policy and a new internatinoal commitment to move away from coal since Trump pulled America out of the Paris climate agreement. 

    Moon made a speech at a ceremony which shut down the country's oldest coal station, in which he promised to:

    • scrap existing plans for new nuclear plants
    • not extend the life of existing ones,
    • shut down 10 old coal power plants and
    • cancel new coal projects.

    Moon noted that so far the country's energy policy has focused on low prices and efficiency but that this should change, the priority now being on public safety and the environment. 

    South Korea is one of the top producers of nuclear power in the world and was looking to export its expertise and technology.

    But air pollution has recently risen up the political agenda, as South Korean was at risk of becoming one of the more polluted countries in the world. 

    Back in January 2017, a study from researchers at Harvard University and Greenpeace International said approximately 50,000 lives a year could be saved by 2030 if no new coal-fired power plants are built in Southeast Asia, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan.

    At a recent meeting of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) Moon recently  suggested a 20% renewable energy target by 2030 and says South Korean will actively share their experience in building renewable energy sources and environmentally friendly energy towns with other AIIB countries 

  2. So you want to to be healthier, with a healthy diet, exercise, a good night's sleep and the physical and mental ability to live life to the full.  

    So how far have you thought about the air you breathe?  Wildfires have been ferocious this year - Chile, Portugal, Spain, the US for starters - and they affect not only those living in the area but also further away.  In the US west, Alaska and Canada, more than 9.8 MILLION acres burnt last year, according to the National Interagency Fire Center

    The American Lung Association has information on how wildfires affect people's health thousands of miles away.   It says in the US that climate change has caused higher spring and summer temperatures.  The snow has melted erlier, causing soils to be drier for longer and lengthening the wildfire season and increasing drought.  These hot, dry conditions can make fire more intense and also make it burn for longer. 

    Wildfires spread air pollution locally, but thousands of miles away.   For people, they can cause breathing difficulties in even healthy individuals, but particularly in hildren, older adults, and people with lung diseases such as asthma and COPD, and heart problems.  Although those in the immediate vicinity are of course affected first, fire and smoke spreads downwind.  Click here for more info

    The impact of wildfires on the animal kingdom and its habitat is horrific.   Domestic pets, working animals and wildlife die in large numbers as they have no fast way out.  Wildfires can spread at considerable speed.  

    Vigilence is essential to take care when it is particularly dry and hot.   

     

  3. The BBC reports today that France is ready to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040.

    Nicolas Hulot is a veteran environmental campaigner who was appointed by the new French President Emmanuel Macron.  

    The planned ban on fossil fuel vehicles is part of the French renewed commitment to the Paris climate deal;   France plans to be carbon neutral by 2050.  The decision was a factor as a result of the US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Change Agreement. 

    It is not yet clear what will happen to existing fossil fuel vehicles still in use in 2040.   It is intended that poorer households will get financial help to replace older more polluting cars with cleaner ones.

    Volvo has announced that all its cars will at least be partly electric from 2019.  Renault's "Zoe" electric vehicle range is one of the most popular in Europe.

    The French also want to end coal power plants by 2022, to reduce nuclear power to 50% of total output by 2025 and end the issuing of new oil and gas exploration licences.  

    Paris saw several days of peak pollution in March, and it's put into place some measure to cut down on cars.  Several French cities have high levels of air pollution - but it's also a problem in mountain areas!

    Norway wants to move to electric-only vehicles by 2025, as does the Netherlands.   And Germany and India have proposed similar measures, their target date being 2030.

    While it's good to see governments taking action, that won't be enough.  We all need to see what we individually can do to cut pollution. 

  4. There's good news for elephants!

    The Librarian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has formally signed off on a National Elephant African Plan.

    The plan was devised by Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and its partners and it's being funded by Stop Ivory.  It aims to tackle the increasing threat to Liberia's forest elephants. 

    Poaching has escalated, and forest elephants are severely threatened.   Numbers are difficult to estimate with any degree of accuracy but they are thought to be as low as 300 individuals. 

    Forest elephants captured via camera traps in Sapo National Park. Credit: FFI/FDA.

    The National Elephant Action Plan helps to identify specific actions and interventions for which targeted funding will be sought to address this data gap.  The first nationwide baseline assessment of forest elephants in Liberia is one such action. 

    West Africa has lost over 90% of its suitable elephant habitat over the last 35 years, due to logging, mining and agriculture.  Elephants need enormous areas to roam, so in order for them to survive, it's essential to safeguard their remaining habitats and the wildlife corridors that connect them.  

    Fauna and Flora say that you can only find forest elephants in 8 African countries now.  Liberia has the largest forest cover, so the population of forest elephants there is really important.

    The new National Elephant Action Plan will complement the broader African Elephant Action Plan by providing a guide for the protection and conservation of forest elephants in Liberia.

    This plan is vital as FFI's Liberia Programme Manager, Michelle Klailova, says, "and I quote,  “It will allow us to obtain a better understanding of the issues surrounding the distribution and conservation of Liberia’s elephants, identify the key threats and establish a programme of measures to ensure the survival of the species in Liberia.

    “The Liberian President’s signature will ensure the ideas and objectives towards elephant conservation are not just theoretical but actually implemented through the action plan,” she added.

    This new commitment by the Liberian President proves the government’s commitment to protecting its natural environment.

    FInd out more from Fauna and Flora International here