Climate change is disrupting the birds and the bees

BBC_Our changing climate seems set to disrupt just about everything. From rising sea levels to ocean acidification, the list of negative consequences from climate change is endless. But one area that often goes unmentioned in the climate change discussion is sex.

Over the last two decades, scientists have found that warmer temperatures are quietly spoiling the mood, making it harder for plants and animals to reproduce.

Here are five ways that climate change is ruining sex lives.

It’s a numbers game

While humans and many other animals determine sex genetically, many reptiles and some fish use the incubation temperature of the eggs to set the gender of their offspring. This means that changing global temperatures could alter the ratio of sexes produced, making it harder for these animals to find mates. Tiếp tục đọc

Asian consumer firms need to buck up on sustainability: New report

eco-business_A new report by WWF has found that most major Asian consumer goods firms are lagging behind their western counterparts on making their operations and supply chains more sustainable, and their investors are also not paying enough attention to environmental risks.

Non-profit group World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has published a report shining an uncomfortable spotlight on Asian consumer firms, which finds them severely lagging behind international standards on sustainability.The international group said the lack of sustainability among Asian manufacturers of food, household, and personal care products is in part due to a lack of scrutiny from financiers. Tiếp tục đọc

AIIB supports Paris and is not funding coal – Ngân hàng AIIB ủng hộ hiệp định Paris và không tài trợ cho than đá

Opening Address
Meeting of the AIIB Board of Governors
President Jin Liqun
June 16, 2017
As Prepared for Delivery

AIIB_Your Excellencies, the President of the Republic of Korea; the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Strategy and Finance; Distinguished Governors and Members of the Board of Directors; Honored Guests; Ladies and Gentlemen.

It is a great privilege and an honor for me to welcome you to the second Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Tiếp tục đọc

Letters from the Mekong: A Call for Strategic Basin-Wide Energy Planning in Laos

This issue brief—the third in Stimson’s “Letters from the Mekong” series — continues to challenge the prevailing narrative that the current rapid pace of dam construction on the Mekong River in mainland Southeast Asia will continue until the entire river is turned into a series of reservoirs. Certainly, the construction of even a few large dams will severely impact food security in the world’s most productive freshwater fishery and sharply reduce the delivery of nutrient-rich sediment needed to sustain agriculture, especially in Cambodia and Vietnam’s Mekong Delta. However, our team’s extensive research over a number of years, including site visits and meetings with regional policymakers, provides compelling evidence that not all of the planned dams will be built due to rising political and financial risks, including questions about the validity of current supply and demand projections in the greater Mekong region. As a consequence, we have concluded that it is not yet too late for the adoption of a new approach that optimizes the inescapable “nexus” tradeoffs among energy, export revenues, food security, and fresh water and protects the core ecology of the river system for the benefit of future generations.

In particular, through a continued examination of rising risks and local and regional responses to those risks, we believe that Laos and Cambodia will fall far short of current plans for more than 100 dams on the Mekong mainstream and tributaries. This reality will have particular implications for Laos, which seeks to become the “Battery of Southeast Asia” by setting the export of hydropower to regional markets as its top economic development priority.

In the case of Laos in particular, the reluctant recognition that its dream of damming the Mekong are in jeopardy may cause a reconsideration of its development policy options. Fewer Lao dams will mean that national revenue targets will not be met. Already the government has begun to make overtures for US and other donor assistance in managing the optimization of its hydropower resources. This is not surprising since Lao decision makers depend almost entirely on outside developers to build out its planned portfolio of dams under commercial build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) concessions for export to neighboring countries. All of these dams are being constructed in a one-off, project-byproject manner with no prior input from the intergovernmental Mekong River Commission (MRC) or neighboring countries, and hence there is little practical opportunity for synergistic planning that could optimize the benefits of water usage on a basin-wide scale.

Because planners cannot see past the next project, it is impossible to determine to what extent the targets for the final power output of either Laos or the basin as a whole are achievable. Further, critical red lines of risk tolerance, particularly toward the environmental and social risks that impede dam construction, are unidentifiable because the government has little stake invested in the projects and derives few resources from the BOOT process to mitigate risk.

By 2020 roughly 30% of the Mekong basin’s power potential in Laos will be tapped by existing dams and those currently under construction. Beyond 2020 the prospect for completing the remaining 70 plus dams planned or under study by the Lao Ministry of Energy and Mines is unknowable. As Lao officials begin to realize they will not necessarily meet their development goals, there will still be time to transition to a basin-wide, strategic energy plan that meets projected revenue goals while minimizing impacts on key environmental flows through a combination of fewer dams and other non-hydropower sources of clean energy generation.

Hy vọng cho Hà Nội? Hệ thống xe buýt mới có thể giảm ô nhiễm…nếu có đủ người sử dụng

English: Hope for Hanoi? New bus system could cut pollution … if enough people use it

Từ toà nhà cao ốc văn phòng tại Hà Nội, anh Trần Dũng hầu như không thể nhìn thấy đường chân trời của thành phố đằng sau lớp khói bụi dày đặc. Trước khi rời công sở, anh chuyên viên trợ lý này kiểm tra phần ứng dụng AirVisual để đọc mức ô nhiễm không khí, ứng dụng cung cấp số đo chỉ số PM2.5 tại thời gian thực – PM2.5 là các hạt bụi nhỏ li ti có trong khói bụi mà có thể huỷ hoại cổ họng và phổi của con người.

Traffic jam in Hanoi

Những hàng dài xe máy và ô tô là nguyên nhân chính gây ô nhiễm không khí ở Hà Nội

Chỉ số PM2.5 thường dao động từ 100 đến 200 microgram mỗi mét khối – mức độ này thường được xếp vào loại “không tốt cho sức khoẻ” mà được toàn cầu đã công nghận. Nhưng vào ngày 19/12 năm rồi, nó đạt đến “mức độ  nguy hiểm” ở mức 343 microgram/m3, cao hơn cả ở Bắc Kinh.

Bị sốc khi đọc được con số này, anh Dũng đã chia sẻ ảnh chụp màn hình với bạn bè trên Facebook, anh viết: “Tôi không thể tin vào mắt mình. Các bạn bảo trọng!” Tiếp tục đọc

‘Irrational’ Coal Plants May Hamper China’s Climate Change Efforts

The China Kingho Energy Group’s coal-to-gas plant in Chuluqay, Xinjiang, China, in 2014. Credit Benjamin Haas/Bloomberg

YINING, China — When scientists and environmental scholars scan the grim industrial landscape of China, a certain coal plant near the rugged Kazakhstan border stands out.

On the outside, it looks like any other modern energy plant — shiny metal towers loom over the grassy grounds, and workers in hard hats stroll the campus. But in those towers, a rare and contentious process is underway, spewing an alarming amount of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas accelerating climate change.

The plant and others like it undermine China’s aim of being a global leader on efforts to limit climate change.

The plant, in the country’s far west, converts coal to synthetic natural gas. The process, called coal-to-gas or coal gasification, has been criticized by Chinese and foreign scholars and policy makers. For one thing, it is relatively expensive. It also requires enormous amounts of water, which exacerbates the chronic water crisis in northern China. And worst of all, critics say, it emits more carbon dioxide than traditional methods of energy production, even other coal-based ways.

Continue reading on New York Times

Bacteria to improve sanitation on Southeast Asia’s largest lake

KAMPONG CHHNANG, Cambodia: Piles of rotten garbage and a choking odour engulfed the bank of Tonle Sap near a small harbour in Chhnok Tru, Kampong Chhnang. Most of the rubbish, from plastic bags to human waste and animal carcasses, came from a fresh market a few steps away.

For visitors, the experience may be shocking. But for the inhabitants of Tonle Sap – Southeast Asia’s largest freshwater lake stretching 13,000 sqkm across five Cambodian provinces – that is the only environment they know, and it is getting worse. Tiếp tục đọc

Hackers Scrambling to Save Climate Data from Trump Administration

David Z. Morris

Jan 23, 2017

Fortune_Wired has provided a glimpse into an initiative to download and securely store reams of climate and environmental data from the Environmental Protection Agency and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as the Trump administration takes power. The organizers of the work, including some based at the University of Toronto, were initially motivated by widespread environmental data destruction under Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

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Vietnam punishes 4 officials over Formosa environmental disaster

HANOI: Vietnam said on Thursday (Jan 26) it would punish four officials over one of its worst environmental disasters, caused by a unit of Taiwan conglomerate Formosa Plastics, in the first action against government officials ten months after the accident.

Formosa Ha Tinh Steel, which runs an US$11 billion steel plant, polluted more than 200km (125 miles) of coastline in April, killing more than 100 tonnes of fish and devastating the environment, jobs and economies of four provinces. Tiếp tục đọc

6 Environment and Development Stories to Watch in 2017

http://www.wri.org/blog/2017/01/6-environment-and-development-stories-watch-2017?utm_campaign=wridigest&utm_source=wridigest-2017-01-11&utm_medium=email&utm_content=learnmore

Last year brought major political shocks to the world: the election of Donald Trump; the rise of “fake news;” and the emergence of populist, anti-globalization movements in Britain, the Philippines and elsewhere. Many of these were fueled by the growing feeling among certain groups that they are being left out of economic opportunities.

The big question for 2017 is: Are these disruptions merely a speed bump for progress toward a more sustainable, equitable world, or will they signal a much larger retreat? Tiếp tục đọc

Vo Quy, Father of Environmental Conservation in Vietnam, Dies at 87

Prof. Vo Quy was a remarkable man, a much admired environmentalist, a popular TV host who made science accessible and entertaining.  He was a generous and caring human being whose twinkling eyes and modest good humor, and his integrity, positively influenced governments and party leaders, and several generations of Vietnamese citizens.  Dr. Quy introduced many foreigners to the rich diversity of Viet Nam’s flora and fauna and instilled in everyone a sense of personal responsibility for the preservation of this fragile environment. He was a determined but temperate leader in the struggle to understand the damage caused by Agent Orange and to seek justice for those affected by its consequences.

Chuck Searcy

New York Times

ASIA PACIFIC | OBITUARY

Vo Quy, Father of Environmental Conservation in Vietnam, Dies at 87

By MIKE IVES

Vo Quy, center, checking plant samples in central Vietnam in 1996. Dr. Quy was well known for his pioneering studies on Vietnam’s wildlife. Credit Kathy Wilhelm/Associated Press

HONG KONG — In the early 1960s, a young ornithologist successfully persuaded Vietnam’s top leaders, including its founding president, Ho Chi Minh, to designate a tract of land near the capital as the country’s first national park.

“They listened to this guy who goes out and watches birds,” said Pamela McElwee, an associate professor at Rutgers University who is an expert on Vietnam’s environmental history. “I think that’s a sign of how significant he was.”

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Cách mạng dưới lòng đất: vấn đề mai táng và chôn cất ở châu Á

English:  Underground revolution: Asia’s grave problem

Để giải quyết vấn đề thiếu đất, nhiều quốc gia châu Á đã khuyến khích “mai táng sinh thái” bao gồm quá trình hoả thiêu. Nhưng xét đến các tác động môi trường của việc hoả thiêu, lợi ích đạt được nhiều nhất có lẽ cũng chỉ là tạm thời

Các ngôi mộ lớn, công phu nhưu thế này ở Trung Quốc là một biểu tượng của lòng hiếu thảo và kính trọng tổ tiên, nhưng cái giá phải trả cho vấn đề môi trường là bao nhiêu? Tiếp tục đọc

Urban water pumping raises arsenic risk in Southeast Asia

River water is now flowing into aquifers through highly contaminated sediments

Mason Stahl tests arsenic concentrations in slow-moving water along the edge of the Red River near Hanoi, Vietnam.

High concentrations of arsenic are making their way from the Red River into aquifers near Hanoi, Vietnam, a new study shows. Mason Stahl tests water at the river’s edge where sediment is being deposited. Photo: Courtesy of Mason Stahl

ldeo.columbia.edu – Large-scale groundwater pumping is opening doors for dangerously high levels of arsenic to enter some of Southeast Asia’s aquifers, with water now seeping in through riverbeds with arsenic concentrations more than 100 times the limits of safety, according to a new study from scientists at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, MIT, and Hanoi University of Science. Tiếp tục đọc

Underground revolution: Asia’s grave problem

To solve land shortages, many Asian countries have encouraged “eco-burials” that involve the cremation process. But considering the environmental effects of cremation, the benefits may be short-term at best.

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Can we harness bacteria to help clean up future oil spills?

theconversation – In 2010 the Deepwater Horizon oil spill released an estimated 4.2 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico – the largest offshore spill in U.S. history. The spill caused widespread damage to marine species, fisheries and ecosystems stretching from tidal marshes to the deep ocean floor.
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