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News Article | February 13, 2017
Site: www.theguardian.com

There is so much being done to help stop elephants being wiped out in the wild. We’ve identified more than 50 campaigns and organisations around the world, from well-known charities like the World Wide Fund for Nature to grassroots groups like Elephanatics in Canada and Laos-based ElefantAsia. If you think we’ve missed anyone or anything, let us know at elephant.conservation@theguardian.com. We’ll update the list with your suggestions. Please note, however: presence on this list does not constitute an endorsement. Organisations take differing approaches to elephant conservation, and even the most secure-looking can run into financial difficulties. As a conscientious giver it is your responsibility to make sure your contribution will be used wisely. Set up petitions, organise marches, lobby politicians or just spread the word: there are a number of ways in which you can campaign and really make an impact. There are many inspiring grassroots groups that do amazing work; why not join one of these, or set up your own if there’s none in your country? In the UK, Action for Elephants has organised marches and talks to highlight the importance of banning the ivory trade. This grassroots group also campaigns against keeping elephants in captivity. Even though 179 countries have signed up to Cites, the UN’s Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, the illegal trade in wild animals remains a multibillion-dollar industry. The Bloody Ivory campaign aims to put pressure on Cites to do more to prevent poaching and ivory trafficking. Its online petition to tackle the black market in ivory has 56,000 signatures (and counting) and will be presented at the next Cites meeting in 2019. Based in Vancouver, Canada, Elephanatics aims to raise awareness of the poaching crisis and ensure the long-term survival of elephants through education, conservation and fun activities like the annual global march for elephants and rhinos. Inspired by her childhood in Africa, Joyce Poole has been studying elephant behaviour and communication for more than 30 years. She has a particular interest in how poaching and habitat destruction affects herds’ social dynamics. Through ElephantVoices, which she founded in 2002, Poole campaigns for elephants and promotes research and conservation projects, while providing others with the resources they need to do the same. Conducting the first pan-African aerial survey of elephant populations in 40 years and covering 345,000 square miles across 18 countries, this ambitious project set out to count and map Africa’s savannah elephants. The final report, published last year, showed a 30% fall in numbers over the last seven years. While the census itself is complete, the organisation is now using its database to help governments, scientists and NGOs manage and protect elephant populations. Committed to bringing an end to animal poaching and trafficking, IFAW campaigns for the bolstering of wildlife trade policy with supranational organisations such as the UN and the EU, while helping to train customs agents and wildlife rangers. It also investigates online crime. This offshoot of WildAid – one of the largest conservation groups working to eliminate demand for wildlife products such as elephant ivory and rhino horn – is responsible for the #JoinTheHerd campaign. Showing your support is as easy as uploading a photo of yourself – which the website then stitches to one of an elephant – and sharing the resultant image on social media, with the #JoinTheHerd hashtag. This non-profit aims to fight ivory trafficking on every front, training rangers, supplying sniffer dogs, working to make ivory less prestigious … Responsible for the #SaveElephants social media campaign, it also provides plenty of highly shareable pictures for your own activities. Named after the 96 animals killed for their ivory every day in Africa, this offshoot of the Wildlife Conservation Society works to highlight the plight of elephants and supports organisations caring for them around the world. Campaigns include Origami for Elephants (“create your own customised digital origami elephant”) and the #ElephantYogaChallenge (“You can help save elephants with yoga”). Putting pressure on politicians both at home and overseas is a powerful way to effect change. Save the Asian Elephant provides template letters and contact details for top-ranking officials, including the British prime minister, Theresa May, and India’s minister for tourism, Dr Mahesh Sharma, which you can use to urge them to follow through on their promises to protect Asian elephants. A grassroots organisation dedicated to raising awareness about the ivory trade and the fate of elephants across Africa. It offers a space to share knowledge, lobby government and join marches. Founded by two zoology students from the University of Exeter, this little organisation focuses on producing short films that target a wildlife crime or human-wildlife conflict issue. These are then shown to affected communities through a bicycle-powered cinema. In Malawi, Stop Wildlife Crime, Protect Malawi’s Wildlife, about elephants and the illegal ivory trade, was shown to more than 14,000 people. This World Wide Fund for Nature initiative is focused on ending Thailand’s ivory trade – once the world’s second largest – and has already enjoyed much success. In 2015, its efforts helped the Thai government to pass new regulations, while last year’s Ivory-Free Thailand campaign enlisted the help of local celebrities to discourage consumers from buying or accepting gifts of ivory. Launched by the World Elephant Society, which creates and distributes educational information about elephant conservation, World Elephant Day (12 August) asks elephant-lovers the world over to share their appreciation of these endangered animals. Youth 4 African Wildlife works with young people in the hope that they’ll become global conservation ambassadors. It offers conservation internships for people from all over the world, and also raises awareness through community outreach in the greater Kruger National Park area in South Africa. If you want to help elephants and have time to spare, these organisations want to hear from you. Some offer hybrid travel and volunteering experiences that will let you interact with elephants in their own habitat. Others need assistance with campaigns or administration. As always, make sure you understand their aims and approaches before signing up. Set in the lush countryside of Thailand’s northern Mae Chaem district, this sanctuary serves as a retirement community for some of the country’s 4,000-plus registered captive elephants, which have endured long lives of hard graft and exploitation, predominantly within the tourism and logging industries. Tasks for volunteers range from feeding and bathing the animals to teaching English to local children. With stays at the charity’s Cambodian elephant sanctuary lasting anywhere between one and four weeks, a good level of fitness is a must, as volunteers are expected to spend much of their time hiking through the Mondulkiri province’s mountainous terrain. Activities include observing the elephants in their natural habitat and planting seedlings to counteract deforestation. Elephants in Lagos are traditionally used in logging and worked to the point of exhaustion. The Conservation Center is home to the country’s first elephant hospital dedicated to victims of logging accidents, and has an elephant breeding programme. Reliant on donations and fees from volunteers, the centre invites visitors to learn about elephants and the importance of conservation in their natural environment. A useful starting point for any well-intentioned volunteer who doesn’t quite know where to start. There are dozens of opportunities across Africa and Asia to choose from, including data collection and research projects in Thailand, community outreach and wildlife education programmes in South Africa, and hands-on caretaking roles in a Sri Lankan elephant sanctuary. Human-animal conflict is one of the greatest threats to some of the world’s most at-risk elephant populations. The Great Projects links volunteers to conservation efforts in Asia and Africa; these include protecting the Namibian desert elephants – whose slowly recovering numbers were as low as 300 in the 1990s – by working with the local farmers, who frequently come into violent contact with the animals. Dedicated to protecting the Asian elephant, Save the Elephant Foundation provides a safe home for rescued elephants in its Elephant Nature Park in Chang Mai, Thailand. It invites volunteers and visitors to spend time with the animals, feeding, bathing and giving them care and affection in their natural habitat. One of the largest human-elephant conflict resolution projects in the world, this scheme run by the Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society sees volunteers muck in across a wide variety of tasks. Daily activities might include observing elephant herds, identifying game trails, developing a dialogue with local communities, or maintaining the scenically situated base camp in north-western Sri Lanka. Giving money may seem the easiest way to help a cause you believe in. But deciding which organisation to donate to can be a daunting task. Some will use the money across their programmes, while others will let you back specific projects. Be sure to check that the organisation is legitimate and fits your objectives. Study its website, check its credentials and search the web to learn about its reputation and status. In addition to government regulators, these organisations provide advice for charitable giving: Charity Navigator, GuideStar, Charity Watch and GreatNonprofits. The rangers who risk their lives to prevent wildlife poaching and trafficking make little money and often spend months at a time away from their families. A guaranteed 100% of donations to this WWF-run initiative fund the equipment and infrastructure they need to do their jobs effectively and safely. For more than 30 years Born Free has been working to keep wildlife in the wild. You can support its work by (symbolically) adopting either orphaned Asian elephant calf Jubilee, or African elephant Emily Kate, who now has a calf of her own. The welcome pack includes a cuddly toy and personalised adoption certificate. Since its creation three years ago, this joint initiative between Save the Elephants and the Wildlife Conservation Network has channelled donations to the areas where elephant populations are collapsing the quickest, and the projects on the ground best placed to do something about it. Its celebrity-backed anti-ivory campaign in China played a vital role in changing policy in the country. With donations funding information-gathering operations and deep-cover field investigations, the EAL adopts an intelligence-led approach to uncovering and disrupting the criminal networks behind poaching and ivory trafficking. As well as using specialist investigators to infiltrate the criminal organisations profiting from the exploitation of wildlife, the EIA runs evidence-backed campaigns to advocate for meaningful policy change at a governmental level. Investigations typically cost between £10,000 and £20,000 and rely on donations from the public. Rather than paying into a pot that the charity will redistribute as it sees fit, this foundation allows donors to choose a specific programme and guarantees that 100% of their donation will reach their intended recipients. There are more than 20 research and conservation projects to choose from, including the Mounted Horse Patrol Anti-Poaching Unit for Mount Kenya. As well as its own investigative and policy work, the IFAW partners with media organisations around the world to raise awareness of the illegal ivory trade and the destruction it causes. Donations help to fund future media campaigns and awareness-raising projects. From elephants and tigers to chameleons and carnivorous plants, this research project run by the International Union for Conservation of Nature is aiming to gauge the health of the world’s biodiversity by assessing 160,000 species by 2020. It’s almost halfway there. Donations will support this ongoing research as well as supporting on-the-ground conservation projects. Elephants and tigers play vital roles in the ecosystem, and JTEF aims to raise awareness of their importance. It has several programmes to support conservation work, and reduce Japanese demand for wildlife products. It’s not just elephants and other wildlife that are at the mercy of the poachers’ weapons: more than 1,000 park rangers are estimated to have been killed in the past decade simply for standing in their way. This Australian-run foundation seeks to “protect nature’s protectors” by providing training and vital anti-poaching equipment, while also offering financial support to the families of those killed in the line of duty. Wild Philanthropy supports at-risk ecosystems and communities in Africa through grants to NGOs that are involved in managing protected areas. It also provides secured loans to local eco-tourist businesses.. As an all-volunteer organisation, the WAF uses every penny donated to help secure the longevity of animals and the delicate ecosystems that they inhabit. To show your support for elephants specifically – rather than the plethora of protected species ranging from fireflies to fish – you can symbolically adopt one for $35 (£28) a year. When elephants come into contact with farmland, they can wreak havoc and destroy livelihoods by eating or crushing crops. Many farmers respond by setting out poison or taking other extreme measures. World Animal Protection works with communities to come up with simple and sustainable solutions that allow humans and elephants to coexist, such as the introduction of chilli fences in Mikumi National Park in Tanzania. Most poaching takes place after dark, when rangers aren’t around. This initiative from the Lindbergh Foundation runs drone operations at night in collaboration with local rangers. With thermal imaging sensors, it can locate wildlife as well as poachers, and position rangers before an incident takes place. In two years of testing in a park in South Africa that had been losing 18 rhinos a week, not one animal was lost. Air Shepherd has now conducted around 5,000 missions, across South Africa, Malawi and Zimbabwe. Stepping in where local governments are unwilling or unable to act, African Parks manages 10 national parks in seven countries, taking complete responsibility for the day-to-day management and preservation of 6 million hectares of protected land. Already employing 600 rangers – the largest counter-poaching force on the continent – it aims to increase its conservation operation by 2020 to 20 parks and more than 10m hectares. The communities who share their land with elephants are best placed to conserve their natural heritage, but they often lack the means to do so. The African Wildlife Foundation recruits, trains and equips wildlife scouts from these areas, providing employment opportunities to local people and creating a large and effective poaching deterrent in the process. Renowned wildlife researcher and conservationist Cynthia Moss has been studying elephants in the Amboseli National Park, straddling the Kenya-Tanzania border, since the early 1970s. She founded the Amboseli Trust for Elephants after seeing elephant populations in Kenya plummet by an estimated 85%. As well as groundbreaking scientific research, the trust conducts extensive community outreach programmes with the local Maasai community. One such scheme compensates anyone who has lost livestock to elephants, which has more than halved the number of animals speared and killed in retribution. Policing the 2m acres of elephant habitat in the Amboseli-Tsavo-Kilimanjaro region of east Africa takes courage and dedication, with wildlife rangers spending weeks in remote outposts, putting their lives at risk every day. The Big Life Foundation employs hundreds of Maasai rangers, providing them with field units, vehicles, tracker dogs and aerial surveillance. You can support their efforts by joining the Ranger Club with a one-off or monthly donation. An elephant calf depends on its mother’s milk for the first two years of its life. So when one becomes orphaned – often because its mother has fallen foul of ivory poachers – the calf’s life hangs in the balance. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust fosters, feeds and rears these orphaned calves, eventually reintroducing them to the wild in the Tsavo East National Park. To date, 150 calves have been saved in this way. A research-based organisation that began life as Save the Elephants – South Africa, Elephants Alive! has been monitoring one of South Africa’s largest continuous elephant populations for over 20 years. It believes that extensive knowledge of elephants’ movements and needs is vital to ensure their long-term survival. An offshoot of the Wildland Conservation Trust, this non-profit organisation works with Maasai communities in Kenya to help elephants and other wildlife. On the banks of the Zambezi river, where Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe share a border, lies the town of Kazungula, from where Elephants Without Borders (EWB) runs its transnational conservation operation. African elephants regularly cross these international boundaries, leaving them at the mercy of changeable policy and conservation laws. Using state-of-the-art monitoring technology, EWB tracks their movements and works with the local authorities to create safe migratory corridors through which the elephants can move freely. In Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, elephant and other wildlife populations are at risk from bone-dry summers as well as from humans. In 2005, a particularly devastating drought saw scores of animals lose their lives. On the back of this disaster, Friends of Hwange was formed to pump water from underground sources, providing waterholes even in the most extreme conditions. Zambia sits at the heart of southern Africa, surrounded by four countries identified by Cites as centres of ivory poaching and trafficking. The Game Rangers International Wildlife Crime Prevention Project works with conservation organisations and law enforcement to end the illegal wildlife trade in and through Zambia. Malawi is one of the poorest, and fastest-growing, countries in the world, which is putting its natural habitat under severe strain. In 2008 the Lilongwe Wildlife Trust launched its first project, the Wildlife Centre, as a sanctuary for rescued animals and an education centre. The NGO now works across the country in rescues, advocacy and conservation education. Based in Tanzania, PAMS Foundation works in conservation to benefit both wildlife and the community. Its initiatives include training dogs to detect ivory being smuggled at borders, and supporting the Tanzanian government to undertake anti-poaching efforts. The elephants of northern Kenya’s Samburu National Reserve are some of the best studied in the world, thanks to the work of Save the Elephants. The charity’s main research centre is located in Samburu, from where it once pioneered the GPS tracking of elephant populations, and continues to try to understand ecosystems from an elephant’s perspective. Donations go towards various research and protection projects, from anti-poaching aerial surveillance to better understanding the herds’ migratory movements. Poaching is the immediate threat. But there is another, perhaps even more serious threat to Africa’s elephants: the loss of their habitat as economies grow and land competition surges. Space for Giants is pioneering efforts in Kenya, Gabon, and Uganda to lessen human-elephant conflict with specially-designed electrified fences, and spends a lot of time working with local communities explaining why fences help. This Japanese-Kenyan NGO is best known for its “No Ivory Generation” campaign, aimed at changing Japanese consumers’ attitudes to ivory. Tusk has invested about £30m in 60 conservation projects across Africa since its founding in 1990. Education and sustainable development are at the heart of its approach to conservation, working with local schools and rural communities to promote happy cohabitation between at-risk wildlife and the ever-expanding human population. The group behind the Ninety-Six Elephants campaign (see the campaign, lobby and educate section above) has a presence in 15 of the 37 African elephant range sites, from the savannahs of east Africa to the Gulf of Guinea. Donations help WCS’ efforts to stop the degradation of elephant habitats and prevent wildlife crime by providing rangers with essential technological and intelligence-gathering resources. A US Fish and Wildlife Service initiative financed by a mixture of government contributions and public donations, the fund awards grants to a variety of conservation and animal welfare projects. Recent beneficiaries include a scheme to mitigate human-elephant conflict in Nepal; counter-poaching operations in Thailand; and veterinary training to improve the care of captive elephants in Indonesia. As an all-volunteer organisation, the AES uses 100% of donations to fund numerous and diverse programmes everywhere from India to Vietnam. These range from English as a Second Language classes so that mahouts can develop their careers, to meeting the veterinary and housing needs of retired working elephants. ElefantAsia promotes alternative, cruelty-free careers for the elephants and mahouts that have traditionally served the logging industry in Laos and other parts of south-east Asia. The Laos-based non-profit also providing veterinary care in the form of mobile clinics and an elephant hospital in Sayaboury province. By making a one-off donation or sponsoring an elephant – generally a pregnant female, a mother with a baby, or an elderly or injured animal – donors can support the ECC’s efforts to rescue elephants from the Lao logging industry and re-home them in 106 hectares of protected forest. Rather than impose western ideas of how to run conservation projects, Elephant Family empowers local experts to develop their own solutions to protect Asian elephants in India, Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia and Malaysia. Soraida Salwala founded Friends of the Asian Elephant’s first elephant hospital in Thailand in 1993. Since then, more than 4,000 elephants have received medical treatment in her facility. In their spare time, a group of young people based in Gudalur work in nature conservation in the Nilgiri region of south India. Part of their work involves research into how people and elephants can coexist peacefully. The next generation of conservationists could be the key to ensuring elephants’ long-term survival. Through its educational programmes, Think Elephants International is keeping the subject alive in classrooms both at home in the US and in Thailand, with ambitions to spread the word far beyond. Formed almost 20 years ago in response to the threats to wildlife in India. With 150 employees, the group is dedicated to nature conservation through a wide range of projects. For example, it has supported anti-poaching training for more than 15,000 people working with wildlife. You can make a real difference to conservation efforts by becoming a citizen scientist. You don’t need a PhD to help track elephant populations. Run by the University of Cape Town, the MammalMAP project asks travellers and citizen scientists to share their photos of African wildlife, along with information about the date and location that the photograph was taken. In so doing, you will be helping to build a valuable picture of the mammal population and how it is changing. This Android app, created by ElephantVoices, allows users to upload sightings and observations of Mara elephants to help the conservation charity with its research and campaign work. A must-download for locals and visitors to Maasai Mara. A fun, simple and interactive way to conduct valuable scientific research from anywhere in the world. Snapshot Serengeti asks citizen scientists to help classify the animals caught on some of the hundreds of camera traps dotted throughout the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. You will be shown a photo and provided with a user-friendly and searchable list of native animals. Get clicking to help researchers better understand the park’s animal populations. You don’t have to travel all the way to Mozambique to be part of the Gorongosa National Park’s conservation team. Simply review webcam and camera trap footage to help identify the movements of the park’s animal populations. Whether you would rather bake cakes or trek across Kenya, your hard work can raise money (and awareness) for elephant conservation. Just make sure you obey local regulations. Described by National Geographic as one of the “most authentic, most innovative … and most sustainable tours” out there, this annual nine-day expedition involves trekking across the Kenyan countryside, encountering wildlife and the people responsible for its conservation along the way. Participants are asked to raise upwards of $1,000 (£800), which goes towards preventing the slaughter of the region’s elephants. Simply select an elephant-focused charity or conservation project from the website’s vast database, and within a couple of minutes you can set up your own fundraising page. Crowdrise promises that at least 97% of the proceeds will go to your chosen cause. Alternatively (or additionally), you can sponsor and support others in their fundraising efforts. Functioning in much the same way as its crowd-funding cousin Crowdrise, JustGiving provides users with a simple way to share news of their fundraising campaigns with friends and family and to collect sponsorship. Whether you want to run the London Marathon, climb Mount Kilimanjaro or hold a bake sale in the name of elephant conservation, Tusk’s team can support your fundraising endeavours, be that by helping you get a place at an event, or by providing you with useful tips and ideas. An anti-poaching initiative, Veterans 4 Wildlife sends skilled veterans – and volunteers – to support rangers across Africa. Often poverty is the cause of poaching, so this organisation does a lot of community-based work, such as building schools and creating jobs. Provides all the tools and tips you need to create a successful fundraising campaign. Download flyers, posters and pictures direct from the website, or draw inspiration from other fundraising efforts. It’s easy to become so fascinated by elephants that you overlook ways in which you are harming them. Here are some of the things you should not do if you want to prevent exploitation and abuse.

News Article | October 12, 2016
Site: phys.org

Wild equids such as Spanish Mustangs and wild Burroughs captivate and delight people around the world. To many, these animals represent freedom and adventure. However, these iconic animals are often persecuted because they compete with livestock for limited forage and water. Researcher Prameek M. Kannan, a Master's graduate from Pace University's Environmental Science Program (ENS), travelled to some of the harshest terrain on Earth in order to study the behavior of the most elusive and unknown of all wild equids—the Tibetan wild ass of the Trans-Himalayas. While attempting to establish the first ethograms for this species—a descriptive analysis of their behaviors—Mr. Kannan discovered something unusual. While most sexually active male equids stick to the same territory, he observed a few that were entering other male's territories and courting the females within. Supervised by Dr. Michael H. Parsons of nearby Hofstra University in collaboration with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-India), he quantified these behaviors and arrived at some stark conclusions. Whereas male equids have long-been thought to consist mostly of two groups: social bachelors, and solitary, territorial males, they discovered a third male type which they have since named "transients." As published in Behaviour, they determined that because 'transients' routinely move into—and retreat from—other male territories, and based on reduced time spent around other males, increased time spent courting females within other male's territories, with minimal time spent in each courtship event, they appear to employ "sneaky" tactics to secure mating opportunities before hastily retreating. Mr. Kannan expressed this outcome as "a joy to learn something about the unique courtship behavior of a maligned species that has not been thoroughly studied." While Mr. Kannan has now moved onto working in a tiger-infested area mitigating human-wildlife conflict, he is excited about the prospects of geneticists coming to study the transient males to find whether these animals have adapted a true alternative mating system, or whether this social class is a transitionary period where bachelors—not yet ready to challenge a rival—must pass through. Parsons added "while I'm excited about this discovery for science, I am equally pleased for the success of a recent graduate that gave up the creature comforts of modern living in NYC, to endure rough field conditions that persistently challenged his health and ability to cope in some of the harshest environments on Earth." "To me, overcoming the challenges of science in such hostile environments should be celebrated, especially when it results in naming a new social class." Explore further: Male banana fiddler crabs may coerce mating by trapping females in tight burrows More information: Faith E. Parsons et al. The discovery of the 'transient' male Tibetan wild ass: alternative 'sneaky' mating tactics in a wild equid?, Behaviour (2016). DOI: 10.1163/1568539X-00003407

News Article | January 18, 2016
Site: www.greencarcongress.com

« Renault was Europe’s top EV brand in 2015 | Main | PowerCell Sweden receives 1st order for 100 kW PowerCell S3 prototype fuel cell stack for automotive application » The ABN AMRO bank has become the 12th partner in KLM’s Corporate BioFuel Program. Corporations participating in the KLM program pay a surcharge that covers the price difference between sustainable biofuel and conventional aviation fuel. KLM uses the surcharge to purchase sustainable biofuel, which is added to the fuel pumped into KLM aircraft at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and elsewhere. Consequently, the participating corporations reduce CO emissions resulting from their business travel, but also contribute to the further development of the biofuel market. The sustainable biofuel for the KLM Corporate BioFuel Program is supplied by SkyNRG, a company founded by KLM in 2010. SkyNRG is structurally advised by an independent Sustainability Board, consisting of the Dutch wing of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-NL), Solidaridad and the Energy Academy Europe.

News Article | February 27, 2017
Site: cleantechnica.com

Portugal’s largest electricity utility, EDP, has received the seal of approval from the Science Based Targets Initiative on the company’s target to reduce its carbon footprint across its entire value chain. EDP is Portugal’s largest generator, distributor, and supplier of electricity, and also has significant business in neighboring Spain, as well as 12 other countries. The company recently announced that it has now received approval of its target to reduce its carbon footprint across its entire value chain by experts at the Science Based Target Initiative — a collaborative project between CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project), World Resources Institute, the World Wide Fund for Nature, and the United Nations Global Compact. The company’s specific target is as follows: “EDP commits to reduce scope 1 and 2 emissions from electricity production 55% per TWh by 2030, from 2015 levels. The company also commits to reduce absolute scope 3 emissions 25% over the same time period.” The target is in line with the company’s previously announced intention to reduce specific emissions of CO2 by 75% by 2030. EDP has already been making moves to reduce its emissions, but the new approval from the Science Based Target Initiative means the company now has what it describes as “a clearly defined pathway to future-proof growth by specifying how much and how quickly they need to do so.” “This recognition confirms how robust EDP’s ambitious strategy is,” said Rui Teixeira EDP Board Member . “Our commitment on a decarbonization pathway achieved noteworthy results in this first year, highlighting the new 1.3 GW of renewable installed capacity. The sustainable management of our business, strengthened by the global partnerships we have joined, reveal our commitment to playing our part in ensuring the success of the Paris Agreement.” “We congratulate EDP on getting their ambitious target approved,” added Pedro Faria, member of the Science Based Targets initiative steering committee. “Their efforts will help accelerate the transition to the low-carbon economy in Portugal and globally. We encourage all companies to follow their lead and better position themselves to experience the increased innovation, reduced regulatory uncertainty, strengthened investor confidence, improved profitability and competitiveness that other businesses have seen after setting and implementing science-based targets.” Buy a cool T-shirt or mug in the CleanTechnica store!   Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech daily newsletter or weekly newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.

« Tesoro to support development of renewable biocrude for its refineries; Fulcrum, Virent, Ensyn partners | Main | New QNX software platform enables ADAS and automated driving » In a first for commercial aviation, Air BP, together with Norwegian airport operator Avinor, and sustainable biofuel specialist SkyNRG, announced that all airlines landing at Oslo Airport can have jet biofuel delivered from the airport’s main fuel farm, via the existing hydrant mechanism. Lufthansa Group was the first airline to confirm that it will uplift the Air BP aviation biofuel at Oslo, and began by refueling an Airbus A320 aircraft. Further airlines including Scandinavian national carrier SAS and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines confirmed they will also purchase jet biofuel at Oslo. Air BP anticipates this will lay the foundations for the increased adoption worldwide of jet biofuel supply. Air BP has worked closely with Avinor to reach the milestone, and has agreed to provision of a minimum of 1.25 million liters (330,215 gallons) of jet biofuel. Avinor will also support Air BP in its assessment of market demand. The initiative has been driven by the requirement for the aviation industry to work towards a sustainable, low-carbon future. It acknowledges the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) aim to achieve carbon neutral growth by 2020 and a 50% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050. Air BP’s Biojet initiative further responds to the EU goal to ensure 3.5% of total aviation fuel consumption consists of jet biofuel by 2020. Growing consumer awareness for responsible aviation practice also underpins the move towards jet biofuel supply. Working with experts from SkyNRG, Air BP sourced the initial batch of drop-in Biojet from Neste’s Porvoo refinery in Finland. The Biojet is produced from Camelina oil within the framework of the demonstration project ITAKA, which is funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme. SkyNRG has its operations RSB (Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials)- certified and is structurally advised by an independent sustainability board which includes a seat for the World Wildlife Fund for Nature the Netherlands. As the aviation division of BP, Air BP is one of the world's largest suppliers of aviation fuel products and services. It currently supplies over 7 billion gallons of jet kerosene and aviation gasoline to its customers across the globe each year. Through its direct operations, Air BP fuels more than 6,000 flights every day—more than four aircraft every minute or one every 15 seconds. The company operates at more than 700 global locations in over 50 countries serving customers from private pilots to some of the world’s largest airlines. Avinor is a wholly state owned limited company under the Norwegian Ministry of Transport and Communications and is responsible for 46 state-owned airports. Oslo Airport is the major hub. Norway’s first flights using biofuels were conducted in November 2014. Avinor has allocated up to NOK 100 million (approximately US$11.4 million) over a ten-year period (2013–2022) for initiatives and projects that can contribute to the realization of Norwegian biofuel production. SkyNRG is the global market leader for sustainable jet fuel, having supplied more than 20 airlines worldwide. SkyNRG sources, blends and distributes sustainable jet fuel, guarantees sustainability throughout the supply chain and helps to co-fund the premium. At the same time, SkyNRG focuses on developing regional supply chains that offer a real sustainable and affordable alternative to fossil fuels. SkyNRG has its operations RSB certified and is structurally advised by an independent Sustainability Board in which the World Wide Fund for Nature the Netherlands (WWF-NL), Solidaridad and the University of Utrecht hold a seat. The Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials is an independent and global multi-stakeholder coalition that works to promote the sustainability of biomaterials.

News Article | February 12, 2016
Site: www.techtimes.com

After the sixth decade of life, who would have thought giving birth is still an option? For this 65-year-old Laysan albatross, however, motherhood is still her thing. Wisdom, the oldest known bird in the wild, hatches what could be her 40th chick, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said. Baby Kūkini, a Hawaiian term for "messenger", was seen cracking out of its shell on Feb. 1 at Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in Hawaii. Gooo, the hatchling's father, served on incubation duty for more than two weeks while waiting for Wisdom to return from hunting and gathering food for Kūkini. When Wisdom hatched a chick in 2013, it already astonished scientists. Now, she did it again and at an older age. Like other birds, albatrosses are thought to be infertile when they reach old age, but Wisdom defied this belief and proved that the species can be a mother, no matter how old it is. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, albatrosses usually live up to 60 years. These birds attain sexual maturity at about 5 years old, but usually breed when they are 7 to 10 years old. Laysan albatrosses (Phoebastria immutabilis) face several threats to their survival. Bycatch poses the biggest threat to this species. When they hunt for fish, they dive for the bait, and sometimes they get entangled on the hook then drown. In 2001, an analysis estimated that about 5,000 to 18,000 Laysan albatrosses are killed because of pelagic longliners in the North Pacific. In terms of nesting grounds, invasive species pose threats to the eggs and hatchlings, too. The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources lists Laysan albatrosses as near threatened species. Aside from bycatch, other threats include organochlorine contamination, plastic ingestion, lead poisoning, and human disturbance. Like humans, older birds experience weakness and they do not have the same endurance as when they were younger. This poses a threat to their health, especially when they go hunting. Wisdom, is obliged to hunt food for her hatchling and in the process, since she is not as strong as she was before, might face tremendous threats in the environment.

News Article | October 27, 2016
Site: www.washingtonpost.com

A new report from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) predicts devastating declines in wildlife populations over the next five years, unless quick action is taken. By the end of the decade, we’re likely to have lost 67 percent loss of all vertebrate wildlife compared to 1970, it claims. According to this year’s Living Planet Report, released by the WWF every two years, wildlife populations have already suffered tremendous losses in the last few decades. Vertebrate populations have plunged by 58 percent overall since 1970, the report states. And organisms living in freshwater systems, such as rivers and lakes, have fared even worse, declining by 81 percent in the last four decades. “For decades scientists have been warning that human actions are pushing life on our shared planet toward a sixth mass extinction,” wrote Marco Lambertini, director general of WWF International, in a foreword to the report. “Evidence in this year’s Living Planet Report supports this.” The biennial report relies on data from the Living Planet Index, an ongoing project that monitors changes in more than 18,000 wildlife populations composed of nearly 4,000 animal species around the world. Habitat loss and overexploitation are the two biggest current threats to wildlife, the report suggests. And much of the problem has to do with the growing human population’s ever-increasing need to feed itself. In the last century, the population has grown from about 1.6 billion people to more than 7 billion today, and it’s expected to exceed 9 billion by mid-century. As a result, many of the problems facing wildlife involve being over-fished or hunted for food and losing their habitat as more and more land is cleared for agriculture. The WWF estimates that farmland already occupies more than a third of the planet’s surface. “Even though its environmental impacts are immense, the current food system is expected to expand rapidly to keep up with projected increases in population, wealth and animal-protein consumption,” the report notes. “Transitioning toward an adaptive and resilient food system that provides nutritious food for all within the boundaries of a single planet is a daunting but essential goal.” Other growing threats to wildlife include pollution, competition from invasive species and the ever-increasing influence of climate change, which can change the temperature and precipitation patterns animals have evolved to tolerate, strain their food resources and force entire populations to migrate or face extinction. What’s bad for wildlife is often bad for people, the report points out, noting that healthy and intact ecosystems “provide us with food, fresh water, clean air, energy, medicine, and recreation. In addition, we depend upon healthy and diverse natural systems for the regulation and purification of water and air, climatic conditions, pollination and seed dispersal, and control of pests and diseases.” In order to avoid the stunning losses projected by this year’s report, the authors recommend a variety of prevention tactics, including increasing the number of protected areas on Earth and committing to more sustainable energy and food systems. The alternative, the report suggests, is a world in which unsustainable activities eventually exceed the planet’s ability to support both the natural and human systems it houses. “The dominant worldview of infinite natural resources, of externalities and exponential growth, is at an end,” said Johan Rockström, executive director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, in another foreword to the report. “We are no longer a small world on a big planet. We are now a big world on a small planet, where we have reached a saturation point.” In loss for ExxonMobil, NY Supreme Court orders oil giant to produce climate documents We’re adding record amounts of wind and solar — and we’re still not moving fast enough It could be the nation’s first carbon tax. And environmentalists are fighting over it For more, you can sign up for our weekly newsletter here and follow us on Twitter here.

News Article | November 27, 2016
Site: www.theguardian.com

It’s impossible not to feel a bit envious of Nordic nations. Norway, Denmark and Sweden were so accomplished at recycling that by 2014 they had no need for landfill. Just like Nordic prisons, the landfills are empty. Now Denmark even has hygge, a system for living that combines cosiness and chunky knits with sustainability, and an enviable design aesthetic. What’s not to like? But Sweden normally gets the gold star. One of the first countries to implement a heavy tax on fossil fuels in 1991, it now sources almost half its electricity from renewable resources. The ruling coalition (Green and Social Democrat) has just announced plans to slash VAT on repairs to bicycles, clothes and shoes from 25% to 12%, in a big effort to drive sustainability. No wonder Swedes are regularly touted as the most sustainable nation. The only problem is, it’s not necessarily true according to Johan Rockstrom of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, someone who knows who is, and isn’t, overstepping the mark Rockstrom points to the fact that the much praised Swedish psyche that prizes responsibility doesn’t actually add up to impressively low emissions. Two years ago, a World Wide Fund for Nature survey of ecological performance from 152 countries placed Sweden in the bottom 10 (ahead of the UK and behind Kuwait, that came first). Rockstrom confirms what other economists and sustainability experts have suggested: wealthy Swedes are bumping up their carbon footprint with endless holidays. Meanwhile the nation remains dependent on imports (with a lot of embodied carbon). It’s not easy being green, or a Swede, and not at all easy being a green Swede. With their book Ugly Food: Overlooked and Undercooked, Richard Horsey and Tim Wharton have become cheerleaders for those vegetables, animal parts and fish species deemed so unattractive that they go to waste. With photographs by Tanya Ghosh, it Includes tricks you need to prepare undervalued ingredients with ease. Even chicken feet or pig’s cheeks suddenly look a whole lot more appetising. Sustainable fashion is getting its theatrical moment in the spotlight. World Factory (with the strapline ‘Made in China. Sold in Britain. Worn by You’) is an interactive theatre performance where you, as the audience, have to get stuck into the fashion supply chain, role playing and making decisions. Will you be an ethical factory owner or will profits always come first? In the rag trade, can anyone ever really win? Zoë Svendsen and Simon Daw collaborated with Shanghai-based theatre director Zhao Chuan to pool research and develop the project. Nobody said it would be easy, but Metis Arts has come up with a brilliant way of helping us to engage with the complexity of the fashion supply chain. The usual division between performers and audience dissolves, we are provoked to engage with real problems in a realistic way. Email Lucy at lucy.siegle@observer.co.uk or follow her on Twitter @lucysiegle

News Article | October 27, 2016
Site: news.yahoo.com

An elephant breastfeeds its young one at the Amboseli National Park, southeast of Kenya's capital Nairobi, April 25, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya/File Photo OSLO (Reuters) - Worldwide populations of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles have plunged by almost 60 percent since 1970 as human activities overwhelm the environment, the WWF conservation group said on Thursday. An index compiled with data from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) to measure the abundance of biodiversity was down 58 percent from 1970 to 2012 and would fall 67 percent by 2020 on current trends, the WWF said in a report. The decline is yet another sign that people have become the driving force for change on Earth, ushering in the epoch of the Anthropocene, a term derived from "anthropos", the Greek for "human" and "-cene" denoting a geological period. Conservation efforts appear to be having scant impact as the index is showing a steeper plunge in wildlife populations than two years ago, when the WWF estimated a 52 percent decline by 2010. "Wildlife is disappearing within our lifetimes at an unprecedented rate," Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International, said in a statement of the group's Living Planet Report, published every two years. "Biodiversity forms the foundation of healthy forests, rivers and oceans," he said in a statement. "We are entering a new era in Earth's history: the Anthropocene," he said. WWF is also known as the World Wide Fund for Nature. The index tracks about 14,200 populations of 3,700 species of vertebrates - creatures that range in size from pea-sized frogs to 30-metre (100 ft) long whales. The rising human population is threatening wildlife by clearing land for farms and cities, the WWF's report said. Other factors include pollution, invasive species, hunting and climate change. But there were still chances to reverse the trends, it said. "Importantly ... these are declines, they are not yet extinctions," said Professor Ken Norris, Director of Science at ZSL. "I don't speak at all about doom and gloom – we do see a lot of positive signs," Nel said. One hopeful sign is a global agreement by almost 200 nations last year to curb climate change could, for instance, help protect tropical forests, slow a spread of deserts and curb an acidification of the seas caused by a build-up of carbon dioxide. And a 2015 U.N. plan for sustainable development by 2030, seeking to end poverty with policies that safeguard the environment, would also help if properly implemented. Also, some species are recovering. Last month, the giant panda was taken off an endangered list after a recovery in China.

News Article | December 13, 2016
Site: phys.org

Eastern Australia is among the 11 worst regions of the world for this wilful loss of vital habitat for native flora and fauna – and the only one of them within a developed country, according to a 2015 World Wide Fund for Nature report. The new NSW biodiversity legislation, just passed by parliament, was developed to solve this wicked problem, by integrating conservation efforts with native vegetation legislation. However, what started out as a bold vision is now looking very lack lustre indeed. The legislation will achieve the opposite of what it is trying to do, largely because its provisions are undermined by other legislation. The legislative package will accelerate extinction of biodiversity, rather than arrest its decline, because the checks and balances on broad-scale land clearing are poor. And it will allow a small but powerful fraction of the agricultural community to erode the reputation of farmers as Australia's true conservationists. Four components of the Biodiversity Conservation Bill passed last month run counter to its purpose. First, native species only become worthy of protection when they are identified as threatened. Candidates queuing up to be on the threatened list are ignored, as are common native species. This undermines the Government's $100 million Saving our Species program. While a laudable initiative, it is akin to putting a net at the bottom of the cliff to save species while ignoring the factors that are pushing them off the precipice. The program can only focus on a minute fraction of biodiversity, predominantly the charismatic fauna and flora. Truly effective legislation needs to provide a protective umbrella over all ecosystems and the myriad plants, animals and microorganisms which form the rich tapestry of life. Second, the black box of 'mapping' native vegetation, on which everything depends, is not a silver bullet, even though it is the best tool available. A so-called line in the sand in the legislation affords some protection to all native vegetation existing in 1990. Unfortunately the line is blurry because it is based on satellite imagery which does not capture native grasses and open woodlands, making them vulnerable to destruction. Also paddock trees – isolated and in small patches - act as stepping stones for birds and other animals to cross developed farm land – but are invisible on the vegetation maps.  Yet they serve a critical function in stopping further biodiversity loss. Most farmers also appreciate the value of these trees, which provide an environmental service for nothing. They hold the soil together, provide windbreaks and harbor natural predators against their agricultural pests. Third, the offset scheme – being allowed to clear one piece of land if you protect another – is deeply flawed.  Offsets should only be a fall-back option when there is no other alternative to clearing land. And yet the legislation provides no incentives or regulations to consider alternatives with no long-term legal protection of the offset areas. This will inevitably lead to a reduction in native vegetation and a net loss of biodiversity. Finally, ongoing clearing in Australia will make it much more difficult to achieve our greenhouse gas emission targets set in Kyoto, which were based on the assumption that we had land clearing under control. If the Biodiversity Conservation Bill was not nobbled by amendments to other legislation it could help halt the loss of biodiversity with three positive initiatives. First, previous threatened species legislation, with its independent scientific committee and the potential for assessing threatened ecosystems, was transferred almost intact to the new legislation. This system leads the world. Next, protection of areas of outstanding biodiversity value is included – an increasingly critical issue in the Anthropocene. Finally, the initiative of stewardship payments to farmers for looking after the land while they make a living is long overdue. As it is, NSW is likely to repeat the mistakes of the Queensland legislation with widespread clearing. Internal inconsistencies in the legislation could be fixed, by including a rigorous, independent system of assessment for any land clearing requests before approval is given, rather than relying on self-assessment and rubbery exemptions. Proponents for offsets should also be required to show how impacts on the native vegetation have been minimised or avoided. World's best practice requires substitution of 'like' for 'like', protection in perpetuity, and 'no net loss'. In this new millennium, we need to understand that retaining and managing native vegetation is an essential foundation for the long-term sustainability of community well-being, agriculture and other industries, rather than a handbrake on short-term development and this year's balance sheet. A truly integrated piece of biodiversity legislation could harmonise conservation and native vegetation management and realise ecological sustainable development, maintaining the unique character of Australian landscapes. Explore further: Biodiversity science and the law

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