#Australia : `Great Barrier Reef’ Under Threat as `Big Business’ Gets Go-Ahead’ from UNESCO”

#AceEnviromentNews says Great Barrier Reef to get backyard mud dump after coal port expansion.

Published time: January 31, 2014 07:41
 Great Barrier Reef

A tourist swims on the Great Barrier Reef in this undated file picture. (Reuters / Great Barrier Reef National Park Authority)

Vast quantities dredged sand and mud will be dumped right by Australia’s iconic Great Barrier Reef to create a multi-billion-dollar coal port – the world’s biggest. The authority watching over the UNESCO World Heritage site just gave the green light.

What the dumping permit awarded by The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority does is allow two Indian firms and an Australian billionaire miner Gina Rinehart to expand the country’s port of Abbot Point in order to tap into the coal-rich inland Galilee Basin.

The companies and Rinehart have a collective $16 billion in coal projects waiting to be started, Reuters explains. The two terminals planned by Adani Enterprises and the joint GVK-Hancock venture between India’s GVK group and Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting, wish to export 120 million tons of coal a year together.

UNESCO had declared the place a World Heritage site in 1981. It supports a fantastic array of marine species and plant life. The Great Barrier Reef is nearly the size of the US state of Montana, covering an area of some 350,000 square kilometers. Over 2,000 different fish species exist there, with new ones being discovered each year; while coral species number a huge 4,000 species.

Environmentalists, scientists, tour operators and many others had fought the plan on the premise that ship traffic around the fragile corals and seagrass will double. After all, the beauty of the landmark is already quickly fading due to rising water temperatures and changing ecological conditions.

A collective letter was sent to the chairman of the independent watchdog authority, Russell Reichart, explaining that “the best available science makes it very clear that expansion of the port at Abbot Point will have detrimental effects on the Great Barrier Reef. Sediment from dredging can smother corals and seagrasses and expose them to poisons and elevated nutrients.”

Greenpeace joined the chorus, saying that the dump will become an“international embarrassment,” adding that going ahead with the project is tantamount to dumping garbage onto Vatican City or into the Grand Canyon and other sites of cultural importance.

But even UNESCO itself, in consultation with the Australian government, has decided to hold off on its decision to classify the place as “in danger”, or alter its heritage status in any way until June 2014. It says it is waiting for the government to submit a report on how it plans to address all the environmental concerns.

Reichart said in response to all the concerns that Abbot Point’s expansion will mean less dredging than expanding other ports. The chairman told reporters in a statement that “it’s important to note the seafloor of the approved disposal area consists of sand, silt and clay and does not contain coral reefs or seagrass beds.”

A reef shark swims past as Sydney Aquarium divers unveil a Greenpeace banner urging UNESCO to save the Great Barrier Reef (AFP Photo / Greg Wood)

A reef shark swims past as Sydney Aquarium divers unveil a Greenpeace banner urging UNESCO to save the Great Barrier Reef (AFP Photo / Greg Wood)

The authority did impose strict guidelines on the dumping. They dictate that no damage is to be done to areas beyond 20km from the disposal site.

Many, however, believe that the idea of having guidance is very dubious, given the lessons of history, including sediment leakage at other sites. Jon Brodie, a senior researcher at James Cook university added in an interview to ABC News Online that the three million cubic meters of sludge, mud and sands will have a dangerously cumulative effect on the surrounding areas as well, setting a precedent for harmful developments along the Queensland coast.

In reference to similar projects along the Great Barrier Reef coast, he added that the initiative “will add to the destruction of a system that is already going downhill badly.”

When the projects will kick off is yet to be decided. The fluctuating prices of coal and China’s attempts to stabilize its smog situation by curtailing its reliance on coal energy have put a dent in Adani and GVK-Hancock’s plans.

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#aceenvironmentalnews, #aceenvironmentnews, #abbot-point, #australia, #galilee-basin, #gina-rinehart, #great-barrier-reef, #great-barrier-reef-marine-park, #hancock-prospecting, #world-heritage-site

“Dolphins Suffering From Lung Disease Due to BP Gulf Oil Spill”

#AceEnvironmentNews says according to "National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration" the bottle-nose dolphins in "Louisiana’s Barataria Bay" have lung damage and adrenal hormone abnormalities not previously seen in other dolphin populations. According to a new peer-reviewed study published today in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

The Deepwater Horizon spill heavily oiled Barataria Bay. The study was conducted in August 2011 as part of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) by a team of government, academic and non-governmental researchers. In the NRDA process, federal and state trustee agencies working cooperatively with BP identify potential injuries to natural resources and lost public uses resulting from the spill, along with restoration projects to ensure that the public is fully compensated for its loss.

This transmission is intended for the named addressee(s) only and may contain sensitive or protectively marked material up to RESTRICTED and should be handled accordingly. Unless you are the named addressee (or authorised to receive it for the addressee) you may not copy or use it, or disclose it to anyone else. If you have received this transmission in error please notify the sender immediately.

#aceenvironmentalnews, #bp, #dolphins, #gulf-of-mexico, #lung-disease

HS2: Hybrid Bill Documents that Together Form the HS2 Phase One Environmental Statement

HS2 Cost#AceNewsServices says these documents that together form the HS2 Phase One environmental statement outline the pro’s and con’s of HS2’s environmental impact! It has been given the name “Hybrid Bill” which of course has the hybrid word is a word which etymologically has one part derived from one language and another part derived from a different language. A little like the HS2 as it is being cobbled together in order to obtain contracts ,for those that look to benefit when their tenders are accepted. 

Well here is this cobbled together collection of “Hybrid” parts and God help the countryside when this scheme gets approval, according to the UK Parliament Site this is the progress so far.

Progress of the Bill

Bill started in theHouse of Commons

  1. House of Commons
    1. 1st reading
    2. 2nd reading
    3. Committee stage
    4. Report stage
    5. 3rd reading
  2. House of Lords
    1. 1st reading
    2. 2nd reading
    3. Committee stage
    4. Report stage
    5. 3rd reading
  3. Consideration of Amendments
  4. Royal Assent

Next event

  • 2nd reading: House of Commons2nd reading: House of Commons | Date to be announced

Anyway judge for yourself!          

HS2 BuildingThe ‘HS2 Phase One environmental statement’ was produced to accompany the HS2 Phase One hybrid Bill.

We’re seeking comments on all the documents forming the environmental statement through the HS2 Phase One environmental statement consultation open between 25 November 2013 and 24 January 2014.

Guide to the environmental statement

This document does not form part of the ‘HS2 Phase One environmental statement’ itself but provides a short guide to the makeup of the environmental statement.

  1. Understanding the HS2 Phase One environmental statement

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance

Non-technical summary and glossary

  1. HS2 Phase One environmental statement: non-technical summary

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  2. HS2 Phase One environmental statement: glossary and abbreviations

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance

HS2 Phase 1 and 2Volume 1: introduction and background information

This provides an introduction to the HS2 Phase One environmental statement under consultation. This volume also includes an overview of the impact assessment process and the consultation itself, and the main strategic, route-wide and local alternatives considered.

  1. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 1: introduction to the environmental statement

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance

Volume 2: area reports

Reports of the main environmental effects of HS2 in different geographical areas (known as ‘community forum areas’) along the HS2 Phase One route. This volume also contains books of maps relevant to each report.

  1. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 2: community forum area reports and map books

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance

Volume 3: route wide effects

This document sets out the likely route wide environmental effects of the construction and operation of Phase One of HS2.

  1. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 3: route-wide effects

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance

Volume 4: off-route effects

This document sets out the likely significant environmental effects of Phase One of HS2 expected at locations beyond the route corridor, such as rail stations, rail depots and rail lines. This volume covers areas not included in the community forum area reports in volume 2.

  1. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 4: off-route effects

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance

Volume 5: supporting information and planning

Documents providing information including: planning consents, standard measures to be followed when building the route, and environmental effects of moving parts of the route within its legal limits.

  1. HS2 Phase One draft environmental statement

    • 25 November 2013
    • Consultation outcome
  2. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: alternatives report

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  3. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: committed developments

    • 25 November 2013
    • Map
  4. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: draft code of construction practice

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  5. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: off-route effects supporting information

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  6. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: planning data

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  7. HS2 Phase One environmental statement: scope and methodology

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  8. HS2 Phase Two consultation: sustainability statement

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  9. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: wider effects

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance

Volume 5: environmental topic reports and map books

Reports by topic of the environmental effects of the building and operation of Phase One of HS2. This volume also contains books of maps relevant to each report.

  1. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: agriculture, forestry and soils

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  2. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: air quality

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  3. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: climate

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  4. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: community

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  5. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: cultural heritage

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  6. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: ecology

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  7. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: electromagnetic interference

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  8. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: land quality

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  9. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: landscape and visual assessment

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  10. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: socio-economics

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  11. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: sound, noise and vibration

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  12. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: traffic and transport

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  13. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: waste

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  14. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: water resources

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance

Consultation

Stop HS2Comments are invited on the environmental statement which covers the environmental effects of the building and operation of Phase One of HS2and the measures that could be used to manage and reduce any negative effects.

This consultation is required by parliamentary rules to allow member of the public and other interested parties to comment on the environmental statement which accompanies the HS2 Phase One hybrid Bill.

draft of the HS2 Phase One environmental statement was consulted on in spring 2013.

  1. HS2 Phase One environmental statement

    • 25 November 2013
    • Open consultation

Announcements

  1. Major step forward for HS2 as hybrid Bill published

    • 25 November 2013
    • Press release
  2. High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Bill

    • 25 November 2013
    • Statement to Parliament

 

#aceenvironmentalnews, #environmental-statement, #high-speed-2, #high-speed-rail, #house-of-commons-of-the-united-kingdom, #hybrid-bill, #london, #london-west-midlands, #parliament-of-the-united-kingdom, #royal-assent

African Countries Join Forces to Tackle Deforestation in Congo Basin

English: Logo of the Food and Agriculture Orga...

English: Logo of the Food and Agriculture Organization (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recently welcomed a declaration, adopted jointly by Governments from Africa’s main timber producing countries, timber industry representatives and civil society organizations, to curb illegal logging in the Congo Basin.

Representatives of six countries – the Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire and Gabon – adopted jointly with timber industry representatives and civil society the “Brazzaville Declaration,” named for the capital city where an international conference on sustainable forestry in the region was held from 21-22 October.

According to FAO, which estimates the net loss of forest in the Congo Basin at some 700,000 hectares per year from 2000-2010, the newly agreed declaration marks an unprecedented commitment towards the sustainable and legal development of the wood industry in the region.

“The Brazzaville Declaration could help slow down the pace of deforestation in the region,” <“http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/203295/icode/“>said Olman Serrano, a forestry officer from FAO.

The Coat of arms of the Democratic Republic of...

The Coat of arms of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Congo Basin, covering an area of 300 million hectares, harbours the world’s second largest rainforest after Amazonia. As a key resource for stabilizing the global climate, however, it is also a major supplier of illegal timber.

According to FAO-backed studies, Congo Basin tree species are generally larger in height than their Amazon counterparts. This suggests that the African rainforest may be a larger carbon storehouse and a crucial resource for productive and sustainable forest management.

“We must ensure that our forest resources contribute to the development of the countries in this region,” said Raymond Mbitikon, Executive Secretary of the Central African Forest Commission (COMIFAC). “This is what the Brazzaville Declaration sets out to achieve.”

An outcome of a long-term debate with key stakeholders in the forest and wood industry, as well as regional and international partners, the Brazzaville Declaration aims to implement measures that improve timber tracking, transparency and forest governance.

#aceenvironmentalnews, #africa, #brazzaville-declaration, #central-african-forest-commission, #central-african-republic, #congo-basin, #congo-republic, #democratic-republic-of-congo, #food-and-agriculture-organization

New Academic Study Shows Benefits For: food security, resource efficiency, economic stability, improved biodiversity, climate-change mitigation

Humboldt University of Berlin

Humboldt University of Berlin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

New academic study shows that productive agriculture brings significant benefits for food security, resource efficiency, economic stability, improved biodiversity, climate-change mitigation. Productive agriculture delivers important benefits to Europe and the world from increased food security and more efficient land use to climate change mitigation, biodiversity protection and economic and social stability – according to a landmark academic study released today.

The new report, “The social, economic and environmental value of agricultural productivity in the European Union“, has been published by the Humboldt Forum for Food and Agriculture, an international non-profit think tank based in Berlin.

The study assesses data on the economic, social and environmental effects of productive agriculture (which uses modern technologies such as agricultural machinery, new seed varieties, organic and/or mineral fertilizers, and plant protection products and solutions) in the EU.

According to the findings, each percentage point increase in agricultural productivity in the EU:

1. Feeds more than 10 million humans per year.
2. Increases the annual social welfare generated in European agriculture by approximately 500 million.
3. Contributes EUR 500 to the annual income of an average EU farmer and reduces our net virtual land imports by about 1.2 million hectares.
4. Acts to save 220 million tons in CO2 emissions preserves global biodiversity, equivalent to fauna and flora of up to 600,000 hectares of     rainforest
5. Switching to low input agricultural methods, with average 31 per cent lower yields than productive agriculture in the EU, would come at the cost of these benefits, according to the report’s authors.

“This study – the first scientific analysis of its kind – quantifies the various benefits of productive agriculture in the EU,” said one of the study’s authors, Dr.Steffen Noleppa of agripol GbR, an agricultural policy research firm based in Berlin. Harald von Witzke from Humboldt University Berlin, president of the Humboldt Forum forFood and Agriculture and also an author of the study, adds: “Clearly, when it comes to agriculture, productivity matters.”

ecpa 2012 grade 8 diversity

ecpa 2012 grade 8 diversity (Photo credit: mosaic36)

Dr. Friedhelm Schmider, Director General of ECPA, the European Crop Protection Association, said: “This study reminds us all that productive agriculture, which incorporates pesticide use and other modern agricultural technologies, has contributed to improve our way of life in many ways. The benefits pesticides bring to the table are often taken for granted, and the reasons for their use in agriculture are rarely discussed.
Nevertheless, we are hopeful that this new research will serve as base for increasing the understanding of the accomplishments which have already been achieved in agriculture. Innovation in crop protection has delivered a lot and for this to continue we need policy and regulatory frameworks that foster innovation and help Europe’s farmers to stay competitive, in order to meet the challenges of tomorrow and to continue to deliver affordable and healthy food available for all, whist protecting environment and consumer health.”

To download the study, visit this link: http://www.hffa.info/index.php/resources/download-publications/publications/working-paper-5.html

For the online version please follow the link: http://www.ecpa.eu/news-item/agriculture-today/10-31-2013/817/why-europe-needs-more-productive-agriculture

For comment from the study’s authors, contact: office@hffa.info

The European Crop Protection Association (ECPA) represents the crop protection industry interests at European level. Its members include all major companies and national associations across Europe.

For more information: http://www.ecpa.eu

For more general information:

http://www.hungry4change.eu

facebook.com/cropprotection

twitter.com/cropprotection

The European Crop Protection Association (ECPA)

 

#aceenvironmentalnews, #acefoodnews, #acehealthnews, #africa, #agriculture, #berlin, #climate-change-mitigation, #climate-change, #environment, #european-union, #food, #government, #greenhouse-gas, #humboldt-university-berlin