Sustainability Blog - The Grid
If animals were stocks, the market would be crashing.
The chart below shows the performance of an index that tracks global animal populations over time, much like the S&P 500 tracks shares of the biggest U.S. companies. The Global Living Planet Index, updated today by the World Wildlife Foundation, tracks representative populations of 3,038 species of reptiles, birds, mammals, amphibians and fish.
To say the index of animals is underperforming humans is an understatement. More than half of the world's vertebrates have disappeared between 1970 and 2010. (In the same period, the human population nearly doubled.) The chart starts at 1, which represents the planet's level of vertebrate life as of 1970.
By now, smart shoppers know that “natural” flavors and "artificial" flavors overlap in ways that challenge the meaning of the word natural.
Something similar is happening to the weather. Every year, scientists dissect extreme events for their natural causes and any trace of manmade global warming. A new report put out jointly by American and British scientists tours some of the most extreme weather of 2013, and finds climate change lurking behind some of them. Asian heat and storms had a boost from global warming. If California's drought, Colorado's flooding and the U.K.'s extreme cold also did, scientists haven't found it yet.
There are a lot of scary numbers floating around about Ebola. Take 1.4 million: the CDC’s worst-case scenario for Ebola cases in Western Africa by the end of January. Or two: the approximate number of healthy people infected by each new Ebola patient.
But perhaps the most important Ebola number right now is 70 percent. That’s the proportion of patients who need to be isolated -- in treatment centers or at least in their homes -- in order to put a quick end to the Ebola outbreak, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
More than 2.5 million people face famine in South Sudan next year unless the international community continues to provide emergency aid relief, the United Nations and non-governmental organizations said.
Nine months of civil war in the East African country has brought about one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, forcing more than 1.8 million to search for food and flee fighting, according to the UN. The World Food Programme said on Sept. 16 that famine has been averted this year after seasonal rains boosted food supplies and relief workers distributed aid to people displaced by the conflict.
Unless the river's on fire, or the air's heavy with soot, environmental problems can be impossible to see, hear and smell. They tend to occur over great expanses of space and time and are nearly impossible to set right again. There's often no single individual to blame, and consequent legal battles take years.
It's easier for most of us to rely on that same tired storyline, the one that pits sanctimonious, flower-happy, know-nothing pinkos against life-mauling industrial exploiters of the impoverished and beautiful.
Bloomberg BNA -- The rise of carbon markets across the world is driving increased interest from companies and governments to link those markets together, representatives from companies and a Harvard University researcher said Sept. 22.
About 40 countries and more than 20 cities, states and provinces have carbon pricing policies or plan to launch them. Together, these carbon pricing instruments cover about 12 percent of annual global greenhouse gas emissions.
Transcript of U.S. President Barack Obama's remarks at the UN Climate Summit in New York today:
For all the immediate challenges that we gather to address this week -- terrorism, instability, inequality, disease -- there’s one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate.
Five years have passed since many of us met in Copenhagen. And since then, our understanding of climate change has advanced -- both in the deepening science that says this once-distant threat has moved “firmly into the present,” and into the sting of more frequent extreme weather events that show us exactly what these changes may mean for future generations.
Tim Cook is the most important person at the world's biggest company, which just had its biggest product launch in history. Yesterday he was in New York to talk about one thing: climate change.
As CEO of Apple, Cook's job is to constantly be preparing the business for the future, which is why, still aglow from last week's launch of the iPhone 6, he graced the kick-off of Climate Week 2014 in New York.
With the United Nations Climate Summit underway in New York, Brazil's environment minister suggested world leaders take a page from the famously blunt locals.
"This is New York, so cut the crap," Izabella Teixeira said in an interview with Bloomberg News yesterday.
Bloomberg BNA -- Climate denial “will cost us billions and billions of dollars,” the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget said Sept. 19.
“Climate denial doesn't just fly in the face of the overwhelming judgment of science—it is fiscally foolish,” OMB Director Shaun Donovan said at a Center for American Progress event.