EDN Week in Review: Environmental News for the Week of June 24

Acting On Climate

“Global Warming in South Asia: 800 Million at Risk” (Somini Sengupta and Nadja Popovich, New York Times)

Climate change could sharply diminish living conditions for up to 800 million people in South Asia, a region that is already home to some of the world’s poorest and hungriest people, if nothing is done to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, the World Bank warned Thursday in an ominous new study… More….

“A City in Oman Just Posted the World’s Hottest Low Temperature Ever Recorded: 109 Degrees” (Jason Samenow, Washington Post)

Incredibly, the temperature in Quriyat, Masters said, remained above 107.4 degrees (41.9 Celsius) for 51 straight hours. Its blistering afternoon high temperature of 121.6 degrees (49.8 Celsius) Tuesday was just about two degrees shy of Oman’s all-time heat record and its highest June temperature… More….

“In a High-Stakes Environmental Whodunit, Many Clues Point to China” (Chris Buckley and Henry Fountain, New York Times)

Interviews, documents and advertisements collected by The New York Times and independent investigators indicate that a major source — possibly the overwhelming one — is factories in China that have ignored a global ban and kept making or using the chemical, CFC-11, mostly to produce foam insulation for refrigerators and buildings…. More…

Protecting and Improving the Environment

“Tropical Forests Suffered 2nd-Worst Loss Of Trees On Record Last Year” (Sasha Ingber, NPR)

The report presents a bleak picture: Some areas are experiencing prolonged loss of lush forest, while new areas are becoming hot spots. “Places that haven’t been on our radar so much are all of a sudden going through this major transformation…” More…

“Pope to Huddle with Environmental Leaders, Activists” (Eric J. Lyman, Axios)

The formal name of the conference “Saving Our Common Home and the Future of Life on Earth” hints at the importance Pope Francis and the Vatican are giving this topic of discussion. But participants in the talks are more likely to shape climate debate more than change climate policies for companies or governments. Vatican leaders say that does not diminish their role: In an interview, Cardinal Peter Turkson, one of the key organizers, asked: “What will it take for the world to decide once and for all to make a change?”… More…

“Losing Justice Kennedy Puts Fundamental Environmental Protections in Peril” – Environmental law experts weigh in on the subject (Eric Holthaus, Grist) and “Here’s What Environmental Law Experts Think About Justice Kennedy’s Retirement” (Kyla Mandel, Think Progress)

Trump has already hinted at a list of potential replacements — all of whom are likely to side with the court’s now clear conservative majority. Kennedy has been the swing vote for decades. And without his moderating influence, advocates of the environment will face a steep challenge in winning over a majority of the justices…. More….

Ending Plastic Pollution

“Mumbai Bans Plastic Bags and Bottles” (Michael Safi, Guardian)

Mumbai has the become the largest Indian city to ban single-use plastics, with residents caught using plastic bags, cups or bottles to face penalties of up to 25,000 rupees (£276) and three months in jail from Monday…. More…

“Plastic Garbage Patch: Medical Tests ‘Inspired Me To Investigate'” (Matt McGrath, BBC)

As well as potentially releasing toxins, plastics are incredibly absorbent and act as sponges for other harmful chemicals floating in the ocean. Sea-going animals mistake microplastics for food and eat them, absorbing these contaminants…. More…

Protecting Species

“Biodiversity is the ‘Infrastructure That Supports All Life’ ” – Interview with Dr. Cristiana Pașca Palmer, UN assistant secretary general and executive secretary of the convention on biological diversity (Jeremy Hance, Guardian)

“In my view, we need to ensure that the entire planet is used sustainably. That is, 100% of the Earth, the “Whole Earth”, has to be managed in a way that will allow continuous healthy functioning of the ecological systems that support life on Earth, including human life….” More…

“Could Climate Change Lead to the Extinction of Bees?” (Lisa Spear, Newsweek)

There seem to be many threats to these winged creatures, but climate change may be the final straw for some bee species. If the Earth continues to warm and bees don’t find a way to adapt, some populations could face extinction, according to new research…. More…

“Deepwater Horizon Disaster Altered Building Blocks of Ocean Life” (Oliver Milman, Guardian)

Lingering oil residues have altered the basic building blocks of life in the ocean by reducing biodiversity in sites closest to the spill, which occurred when a BP drilling rig exploded in April 2010, killing 11 workers and spewing about 4m barrels of oil into the Gulf…. More…