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NEWS UPDATE #195


HIGHLIGHTS: *Ganges runs out of water; potential food shortage looms *Over 519 developmental projects cleared over 4-yrs threaten last wild areas in India *Report: India choked on 929 million tonnes of CO2 from thermal sector *Worst drought in a generation deepens in the Greater Horn of Africa *Monsanto’s glyphosate linked to global decline in honeybees

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FLOOD UPDATE – INDIA

Tropical storm Daye: Several districts in Odisha flooded; loss yet to be ascertained
Down to Earth
Tropical storm ‘Daye’, which made landfall in Odisha and Northern Andhra Pradesh on Friday morning, caused heavy rainfall in several parts of the state. Within 24 hours of the making a landfill, heavy rainfall was recorded in Malkangiri district. The highest rainfall was recorded in Korukonda area, which received 403 mm rainfall. While K Guma received 135 mm rainfall, Kalimela and Mathili received 118 mm and 103 mm rainfall, respectively. Situation in Malkangiri and other districts continue to remain grim. Communication to places such as Kalimela, Padia, Motu, Balimela, and Korukonda have been cut off and hundreds of acres of farmland remain submerged in flood water which entered the fields after the Satiguda canal in Malkangiri was breached.

Incessant rainfall continues to batter north India
Down to Earth
As rains and consequent floods continued to batter Himachal Pradesh on September 24, Punjab was also put on red alert for floods. The state has received copious amounts of rainfall for the past three days. On September 24, Punjab received 12 times the rainfall it usually does at this time of the year, says the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD). Seven out of its 20 districts received more than 10 times the normal rainfall. Haryana has also received heavy rainfall in the past few days with the entire state getting nine times the normal rainfall. Both the agrarian states of Punjab and Haryana are looking at considerable crop loss due to heavy rainfall.

On fragile ground: Uttarakhand risks agricultural disaster as soil is eroded at an alarming rate
Scroll.in
A team of scientists has generated a soil loss map of Uttarakhand, a state in the northwest Himalayas that often makes headlines for devastating landslides and floods that sweep away houses and bury people in their wake, amid unbridled developmental activities. The study highlights that sheet erosion and landslides contribute substantially to soil loss resulting in the decline of productivity of agricultural land. “When we speak of landslides and floods, it is also important to note that soil quality has been degrading in the state,” soil scientist and the study’s author SK Mahapatra said. “The state is located in one of the most hazard-prone belts in the Asia and is susceptible to earthquakes, landslides and floods. Deforestation is one of the major factors behind soil erosion.”

Karnataka: Double blow: After the flood, comes drought?
Bangalore Mirror
The Kerala government has asked for studies to be conducted on the abnormal drying up of wells and rivers right after the state experienced its worst flood in decades. Now, the situation in flood-hit Kodagu is such that even getting potable water has become difficult in some areas here. In Uppinangady, there is a drastic reduction in the water level in river Netravati. Farmers from Dakshina Kannada have expressed concern about streams growing thin. The state government has maintained that 70 per cent of Karnataka is vulnerable to drought and that it has witnessed severe drought conditions for 13 years in the last 17 years.

Not one dam in Kerala was inspected before monsoon, reveals RTI
Down to Earth
The Kerala government did not inspect all their 61 dams before this year’s monsoon, reveals a reply to a Right to Information (RTI) query. In August this year, when water in the dams reached dangerous levels owing to record breaking downpour, the state threw them open causing floods, which killed 503 people in the state. The Central Water Commission, while replying to the RTI query, said, according to its records, two dams underwent pre-monsoon inspections in 2015, four in 2016, four in 2017 and none in 2018. When it comes to post-monsoon inspections, the CWC revealed that two were done in 2015, five in 2016, four in 2017 and four in 2018. The commission did not disclose the names of the dams inspected though.

Sikkim gets real-time landslide warning system
Down to Earth
A real-time landslide warning system has been set up in the Sikkim-Darjeeling belt of north-eastern Himalayas which is highly vulnerable to landslides. This system can help save lives and loss to property by issuing advance alerts. The warning system consists of over 200 sensors that can measure geophysical and hydrological parameters like rainfall, pore pressure and seismic activities. It has been set up on slopes spread over 150 acre at Chandmari village in Gangtok. It will monitor a densely populated area which has seen landslides in the past. The system is capable of warning about 24 hours in advance. People could be be safely evacuated in this period.

INDIA

Over 519 developmental projects cleared over 4-yrs threaten last wild areas
Business Standard
The railway tracks that cut through the core of Maharashtra’s Melghat Tiger Reserve is one of the 519 projects cleared in India’s Protected Areas and their ‘Eco-Sensitive Zones’ by the NBWL over the four years of the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government between June 2014 and May 2018. In comparison, the preceding United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had cleared 260 projects between 2009 and 2013. In the months to come, a multi-part IndiaSpend series will investigate how the fast-tracking of developmental projects threatens India’s last wild areas, the country’s water resources and hastens local and global warming. (Related: Commercial plantation gets nod in new forest draft policy)

Govt panel recommends radical overhaul of farming ecosystem
Live Mint
The government should undertake a radical overhaul of the agriculture ecosystem by moving from a supply-push production system to a demand-led one, according to a committee set up by the centre to recommend strategies to double farmer incomes by 2022. The agriculture ministry should also set up an “empowered committee” to operationalize and monitor progress of doubling of farm income strategies, the panel recommended in its report submitted to the ministry on Monday, a copy of which has been reviewed by Mint. (Related: 9 Telangana farmers ended life in August in the old Adilabad district alone, despite ‘Rythu Bandhu’)

From hypertension to cancers, alarm bells ringing in India’s tribal belts
Down to Earth
Diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and cancers are often dubbed lifestyle diseases and seen largely as problems of city folks. A new investigation into tribal health has revealed that such non-communicable diseases now constitute major health burden across tribal communities as well. In addition, these communities are reporting mental illness too. This means tribal people or scheduled tribes, who constitute 8.6 per cent of India’s total population, are actually facing triple burden of diseases: communicable diseases (malaria, tuberculosis, leprosy etc.), non-communicable diseases (diabetes, cardiovascular and cancers) and mental health problems like stress, substance abuse and so on.

As India’s Ganges runs out of water, a potential food shortage looms
Mongabay
In the last three decades, the groundwater input to the Ganges River in India has declined by 50 percent during the summer, a new study has found, leading to the river losing water during those dry months. The dwindling of the river’s water flow could severely affect the availability of water for surface water irrigation, with potential declines in food production in the future. The low river flows could also prevent effective dilution of pollutants in the Ganges, which is already one of the most contaminated transboundary rivers in the world, the researchers say. (Related: Gangetic dolphins may soon become extinct as river’s natural flow decreases: WII report)

India among top countries to incur most loss from climate change, finds research
Live Mint
India is among the top countries to face maximum economic loss from climate change, says a new research, estimating the total price that emissions would have to the country’s economy. The findings which were published in the scientific journal, Nature Climate Change, highlighted that United States, India and Saudi Arabia are the top three counties with the most to lose from climate change, followed by Brazil and world’s largest CO2 emitter – China. It is for the first time that researchers developed a data set quantifying the country-level contributions to the social cost of carbon (SCC), which is a measure of the economic harm from carbon dioxide emissions for at least 169 countries across the globe. (Related: India will register highest GDP, energy growth among nations through 2040: OPEC)

Rate Of Unemployment In India Highest In 20 Years: Report
HuffPost
The biggest new challenge facing India’s policymakers and administrators is rapidly rising unemployment, says a report released on Tuesday by the Centre for Sustainable Employment of the Azim Premji University. “Unemployment levels have been steadily rising, and after several years of staying around 2-3%, the headline rate of unemployment reached 5% in 2015, with youth unemployment being a very high 16%,” the State of Working India 2018 (SWI) report said. “This rate of unemployment is the highest seen in India in at least the last 20 years,” the report added. This shortage of jobs is compounded by depressed wages, with 82% of men and 92% of women earning less than Rs 10,000 per month. (Related: With 78 of the largest companies in the country are facing dissolution under the Indian Bankruptcy Code, India’s economy is heading for a meltdown)

Centre plans randomised environmental monitoring by government institutions
The Hindu
The Union Environment Ministry proposes to allow research organisations and accredited agencies to monitor if companies are complying with environmental conditions. “…the Central Government proposes to introduce the concept of randomised third-party compliance monitoring of the environment clearance conditions through national-level reputed and competent government institutions to be empanelled by the Ministry,” said a draft notification issued by the Ministry, dated September 10 but made public on Thursday.

Bad Air Year: India choked on 929 million tonnes of CO2 from thermal sector
The Times of India
The thermal sector, from which India draws 79% of its power needs, spewed out nearly 929 million tonnes of the extremely bad-for-climate carbon dioxide (CO2) in the last fiscal. This is 18% of the total CO2 emitted from all sources in the US last year and 20 times more than that emitted in Finland, which a World Health Organization (WHO) study says has the cleanest air among all countries. To put it more succinctly, 929 million tonnes of CO2 will be released if an average private car goes round the earth nearly 83,000 times.

Modi unveils grand e-car plan
Khaleej Times
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday unveiled a mobility road map that seeks investments in manufacturing electric vehicles and increased use of public transport for travel, saying congestion-free mobility is critical to check economic and environmental costs of congestion. The Indian economy, he said, is the world’s fastest-growing major economy that is building 100 smart cities and constructing roads, airports, rail lines and ports at a greater pace. Speaking at the Move Global Mobility Summit, he said clean mobility powered by clean energy is the most powerful weapon to fight climate change. (Related: ‘Switching off engines at red lights can save ₹250 crore in fuel costs’)

Kochi airport first in world to get top UN environmental award
India Today
The United Nations has honoured the Cochin International Airport (CIAL) with ‘Champion of Earth’ award for being the first airport in the world to be completely powered by solar energy. CIAL is the first airport in the world to receive the highest environmental award issued by the United Nations. A communiqué signed by Erik Solheim, United Nation’s Global chief of Environment and Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme, sent to VJ Kurian, Managing Director, CIAL stated that “this is the United Nation’s highest environmental accolade and reflects your leadership in the use of sustainable energy.” (Related: Narendra Modi, Emmanuel Macron get Champions of the Earth Award, highest environmental honour conferred by UN)

Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train: Gujarat farmers approach HC against land acquisition
We For News
Around 1000 farmers from Gujarat filed affidavits in the High Court against land acquisition by the state government for Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train Project. Farmers’ lawyer Anand Yagnik told media “The Centre hasn’t submitted a reply to petitions since 3 months and state govt is carrying out acquisitions”. In the affidavit, the farmers have stated that their land parcels are being acquired without their consent and without any rehabilitation or resettlement package. They also alleged that the acquisition process is being done completely in violation of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which is the key sponsor of the high-speed bullet train project. (Related: 1) Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project to hit wildlife sanctuaries, CRZ areas 2) Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) stops funds for bullet train; demands that the government first settles the farmers’ protest against the project)

In Modi’s Constituency, a Wildlife Sanctuary is Quietly Being Erased
The Wire
Freshwater turtles may be small, but they are proving to be a big stumbling block for the government’s plans to dredge the Ganga for a multi-crore inland waterways project that will pass through Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency, and end in Haldia in West Bengal. The ‘Kachhua’ or Turtle Wildlife Sanctuary (TWS), the world’s only protected area dedicated to freshwater turtles, is now set to be wiped off the conservation map of India. The state government has submitted a proposal to the Government of India asking for the Kachhua sanctuary in Varanasi to be ‘denotified’ following a meeting of the State Board of Wildlife of Uttar Pradesh on August 30, 2018.

Conservationists will move SC for protecting six more wetlands
Hindustan Times
Environment activists plan to move the Supreme Court against the National Green Tribunal (NGT)’s decision to not designate six low-lying areas in Surajpur as wetlands. While deciding the case related to the preservation of Surajpur wetland, the NGT also took up the status of six other low-lying areas in the vicinity that the applicant had claimed were wetlands. Activist Vikrant Tongad had filed the case in the NGT, and had marked six areas near the Surajpur wetland, claiming that these were part of the wetland’s connection channel. (Related: Bombay High Court orders total freeze on mangrove destruction)

Karnataka rejects Centre’s plan to declare western ghats eco-sensitive area
Hindustan Times
The Union environment ministry will be soon issuing a draft notification declaring the Western Ghats as eco-sensitive area (ESA) for a second time after a similar draft in 2014 expired due to a lack of consensus among states and the Centre. Karnataka, one of the six states to be affected, has already said it will not accept the fresh notification as “it will have an adverse effect on state’s economy”. The affected states that also include Tamil Nadu, Goa, Maharashtra, Kerala and Gujarat will have 60 days time to respond to the draft. The first draft notification declared 56,825 sq km of the ghats in these states as ESA.

Sterlite Plant Will Not Be Re-Opened: Tamil Nadu Government
The Wire
The Tamil Nadu government on Saturday asserted that the Sterlite Industries’ plant in Tuticorin would not be re-opened as its policy decision to seal the Vedanta Ltd unit was in line with people’s sentiments. This comes on a day when a three-member panel appointed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) and led by former Meghalaya high court Chief Justice Tarun Agrawal, is slated to visit the copper smelter plant in the southern district. The locals held protests demanding the closure of the Sterlite factory for 99 days and the agitation turned violent on May 22 on its 100th day leading to 13 agitators being killed in police firing.

Modi govt notifies pet shop rules to regulate housing and caring of animals
The Print
The Modi government Wednesday notified pet shop rules across the country in a big victory for animal rights activists. The rules not only regulate and monitor pet shops, but also set regulation for housing and caring for animals in shops that sell or purchase them. In a bid to regulate the hitherto completely unregulated pet market, the new Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Pet Shop) Rules, 2018, makes it mandatory for pet shop owners to obtain a registration certificate from the State Animal Welfare Boards, and lay down a range of other rules — non-compliance to which could result in the revocation of the certificate.

Private security industry is a bigger employer than healthcare in India: Study
Hindustan Times
The private security industry in India employed 7 million workers in 2015, making it larger than healthcare and almost as large as public administration. Two of every three Indian workers earned up to Rs 10,000 per month in 2015, much less than the stipulated minimum wage of Rs 18,000 prescribed by the seventh pay commission set up by the central government. Most Indian manufacturing companies are sub-scale, with just 26 of every 10,000 manufacturing companies having more than 5,000 workers the same year.

Women forest guides pave new paths in Chhattisgarh
Mongabay
Seven women forest guides were hired in an unprecedented move, at the Achanakmar Tiger Reserve in the central-eastern state of Chhattisgarh, last year. Coming from a village which falls in the tiger reserve’s territory, the women have grown up in the region that they share with wild animals and have taken to the job organically. Over the past year and a half, the women have gained self confidence and are empowered to contribute financially to their households.

WORLD

The worst drought in a generation continues to deepen in the Greater Horn of Africa
Relief Web
The worst drought in a generation continues to deepen in a number of countries in the Greater Horn of Africa (Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya), exacerbated by three consecutive failed rainy seasons. Approximately 10.2 million children (18.5 million people) are in need due to malnutrition, water shortages, lack of health services, child protection violations and disruption to education. In Somalia, a famine has been adverted but remains a possibility. About 1.4 million people are internally displaced as a direct result of the drought in all three countries, with Somalia accounting for over half of this total. (Related: ‘Killing a generation’: Five million Yemeni children face famine)

World ‘nowhere near on track’ to avoid warming beyond 1.5C target
The Guardian
The world’s governments are “nowhere near on track” to meet their commitment to avoid global warming of more than 1.5C above the pre-industrial period, according to an author of a key UN report that will outline the dangers of breaching this limit. “It’s extraordinarily challenging to get to the 1.5C target and we are nowhere near on track to doing that,” said Drew Shindell, a Duke University climate scientist and a co-author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, which will be unveiled in South Korea next month.(Related: 1) New study reconciles a dispute about how fast global warming will happen 2) Let’s call it: 30 years of above average temperatures means the climate has changed)

Arctic lake behaving bizarrely and leaking dangerous greenhouse gases
Independent
When the scientists examined samples of the gases, they found the chemical signature of a “geologic” origin. In other words, the methane venting from the lake seemed to be emerging not from the direct thawing of frozen Arctic soil, or permafrost, but rather from a reservoir of far older fossil fuels. If that were happening all over the Arctic, Ms Walter Anthony figured – if fossil fuels that had been buried for millennia were now being exposed to the atmosphere – the planet could be in even deeper peril. (Related: Container ship crosses Arctic route for first time in history due to melting sea ice)

Humans Contribute to Earth’s Wobble, Scientists Say
Scientific American
Humans are responsible for some of the wobble in Earth’s spin. Since 1899, the Earth’s axis of spin has shifted about 34 feet (10.5 meters). Now, research quantifies the reasons why and finds that a third is due to melting ice and rising sea levels, particularly in Greenland—placing the blame on the doorstep of anthropogenic climate change. Another third of the wobble is due to land masses expanding upward as the glaciers retreat and lighten their load. The final portion is the fault of the slow churn of the mantle, the viscous middle layer of the planet. (Related: NASA scientists have for the first time identified three broadly-categorized processes responsible for drift in earth’s spin axis)

For the first time, scientists prove human activity is the top cause of warming Antarctic waters
National Observer
While the connection between human-made greenhouse gas emissions and rising global ocean temperatures has long been understood, this is the first time it has been proven specifically for the waters that surround Antarctica, explained Swart. Since industrialization, the ocean has absorbed nearly 40 per cent of human-made greenhouse gas emissions. The Southern Ocean, according to Swart, is responsible for absorbing the majority of those emissions. “The Southern Ocean is the single most important region globally taking up the heat associated with global warming,” he said. As a result, it plays a huge role in mitigating the effects of climate change. (Related: 1) By the end of this century, sea level rises alone could displace 13m people in the United States 2) At this rate, Earth risks sea level rise of 20 to 30 feet, historical analysis shows)

Alien Waters: Neighboring Seas Are Flowing into a Warming Arctic Ocean
Yale Environment 360
As the Arctic heats up faster than any other region on the planet, once-distinct boundaries between the frigid polar ocean and its warmer, neighboring oceans are beginning to blur, opening the gates to southern waters bearing foreign species, from phytoplankton to whales. The “Atlantification” and “Pacification” of the Arctic Ocean are now rapidly advancing. A new paper by University of Washington oceanographer Rebecca Woodgate, for example, finds that the volume of Pacific Ocean water flowing north into the Arctic Ocean through the Bering Strait surged up to 70 percent over the past decade and now equals 50 times the annual flow of the Mississippi River.

World Bank: Global waste generation could increase 70% by 2050
Waste Dive
Annual global waste production will increase by 70% if current conditions persist, according to “What a Waste 2.0,” a newly published report from the World Bank that was multiple years in the making. Currently, about 2.01 billion metric tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) are produced annually worldwide. The World Bank estimates overall waste generation will increase to 3.40 billion metric tons by 2050. An estimated 13.5% of today’s waste is recycled and 5.5% is composted. The report estimates that between one-third and 40% of waste generated worldwide is not managed properly and instead dumped or openly burned.

UK heatwave caused hundreds of extra deaths this summer, figures suggest
Independent
Hundreds of extra deaths were recorded in England as a result of the heatwave in spring and early summer, official statistics show. In the last week of June, when temperatures rose above 30C, 382 more deaths occurred than the average. And during unseasonably warm spring temperatures in April, 243 more deaths were observed than the five-year average. Experts said many of the deaths could have been prevented if the public had been made aware “about the increasing risks of heatwaves due to climate change”. (Also read: UK government makes ambitious call to treble internationally-agreed targets for ocean protection.)

In the span of a week, two massive landslides hit the Philippines, killing at least 90 people
Rappler
In the span of a week, two massive landslides hit the Philippines, killing at least 90 people, with dozens still missing. Up north in Benguet on September 15, the land in Barangay Ucab in Itogon town collapsed on a mining community seeking refuge in the chapel area of their bunkhouse. Five days after in Central Philippines, the earth swallowed about 30 homes in Barangays Tina-an and Naalad in Naga City in Cebu Province. Itogon’s was triggered by the rainfall of Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut), while Naga’s was by the rains brought by habagat or the southwest monsoon.

Satellite images show ‘runaway’ expansion of coal power in China
The Guardian
Chinese coal-fired power plants, thought to have been cancelled because of government edicts, are still being built and are threatening to “seriously undermine” global climate goals, researchers have warned. Satellite photos taken in 2018 of locations in China reveal cooling towers and new buildings that were not present a year earlier at plants that were meant to stop operations or be postponed by orders from Beijing. The projects are part of an “approaching tsunami” of coal plants that would boost China’s existing coal capacity by 25%, according to the research group Coalswarm.

Report slams ‘high flying’ UN environment chief
BBC
The head of the UN body that leads on sustainability and green issues has been criticised for extensive and expensive air travel. A draft internal audit, obtained by the Guardian and seen by the BBC, says that Erik Solheim’s actions risked the reputation of UN Environment. The report says he incurred costs of $488,518 (£373,557) while travelling for 529 out of 668 days. There was “no oversight or accountability” to monitor this travel. Mr Solheim says he has paid back the money where “instances of oversight” occurred.(Related: Nations halt funding to UN environment programme as outcry over chief grows)

Monsanto’s Glyphosate Linked To Global Decline In Honey Bees
Zero Hedge
Glyphosate, the world’s most common weed killer, has caused significant concerns over its potential risk to human health, animals, and the environment for several decades. Earlier this month, a US court awarded a groundskeeper $289 million who claimed Bayer AG unit Monsanto’s glyphosate-based weed-killers, including Roundup, gave him terminal cancer. Now, a new report from PNAS alleges that glyphosate may be indirectly killing honey bees around the world, a threat that could potentially also leave a major mark on the global economy. (Related: ‘Natural’ Bread Tests Positive for Glyphosate)

Shock after UK fracking protesters are given ‘disproportionate’ jail sentences
Charity Today
There is public outcry today after three environmental activists become the first people to be jailed for an anti-fracking protest in the UK. Simon Roscoe Blevins (26), and Richard Roberts (36) were given 16-months in prison while the third man Richard Loiou (31), was given 15-months on Wednesday at Preston Crown Court. The three men were charged and subsequently convicted of ‘causing a public nuisance’ after taking part in a four-day direct action protest that blocked a convoy of Cuadrilla’s trucks carrying drilling equipment from entering the Preston New Road fracking site near Blackpool.

The spiralling environmental cost of our lithium battery addiction
Wired
As the world scrambles to replace fossil fuels with clean energy, the environmental impact of finding all the lithium required to enable that transformation could become a serious issue in its own right. “One of the biggest environmental problems caused by our endless hunger for the latest and smartest devices is a growing mineral crisis, particularly those needed to make our batteries,” says Christina Valimaki an analyst at Elsevier. There’s also the potential – as occurred in Tibet – for toxic chemicals to leak from the evaporation pools into the water supply.

Adani plans to take 12.5b litres of water as farmer denied access in ‘double standard’
ABC News
A farmer has been denied access to a river system Adani plans on drawing 12.5 billion litres of water from in what activists are calling a “double standard”, documents obtained under freedom of information laws show. The mining giant plans to take 12.5 billion litres of water from the Suttor River every year, nearly as much as all local farmers combined. Despite this amount, the documents show at least one irrigator had their application for a water licence rejected in 2011, leading activists to claim farmers were assessed more harshly than Adani.

Germany launches world’s first hydrogen-powered train
The Guardian
Germany has rolled out the world’s first hydrogen-powered train, signalling the start of a push to challenge the might of polluting diesel trains with costlier but more eco-friendly technology. Hydrogen trains are equipped with fuel cells that produce electricity through a combination of hydrogen and oxygen, a process that leaves steam and water as the only emissions. Excess energy is stored in ion lithium batteries on board the train.

Major Traders Are Talking About $100 Oil Again
Bloomberg
Major oil trading houses are predicting the return of $100 crude for the first time since 2014 as OPEC and its allies struggle to compensate for U.S. sanctions on Iran’s exports. With Brent crude already jumping to an almost four-year high on Monday, OPEC isn’t just grappling with U.S. sanctions cutting Iranian supply. Output in Venezuela is also slumping due to an economic crisis. The biggest source of new global supply, U.S. shale, is also experiencing growing pains as pipeline bottlenecks and workforce issues hamper growth.

The Ongoing Disgrace of South Africa’s Captive-Bred Lion Trade
Yale Environment 360
No one knows exactly how many lions this industry currently holds because it is poorly monitored — estimates range from about 7,000 to 14,000 animals on between 200 to 400 farms — but it’s one of the most lucrative of South Africa’s wildlife breeding sectors, and has generated tens of millions of dollars annually from a worldwide client base. The industry originated in the late 1990s to provide relatively cheap lions for foreign [mostly American] trophy hunters to shoot in fenced areas. (Related: Russia to bring woolly mammoths back from the dead)

Role-playing video game sparks climate action in players worldwide
Inhabitat
Research published last week in the journal PLoS One examined the effects of World Climate Simulation, a role-playing game of the UN climate talks. The video game found that 81 percent of participants showed an increased desire to combat climate change despite political beliefs. The game’s ability to bridge gaps across the political spectrum and engage those who are less concerned about the need for climate action is a major benchmark in propelling the environment to the forefront of national and international policy making. (Also read: Electronic music fest in ship graveyard aims to revive vanished Aral Sea)

 

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