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Friday, Oct 24th

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Whaling: the great betrayal

The moratorium on commercial whaling, one of the environmental movement's greatest achievements, looks likely to be swept away this summer by a new international deal being negotiated behind closed doors.

The new arrangement would legitimise the whaling activities of the three countries which have continued to hunt whales in defiance of the ban – Japan, Norway and Iceland – and would allow commercial whaling in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary set up by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in 1994.

Conservationists regard it as catastrophic, but fear there is a very real chance of its being accepted at the next IWC meeting in Morocco in June, not least because it is being strongly supported by the US – previously one of whaling's most determined opponents.

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World Water Day: Dirty water kills more people than violence, says UN

Dirty water is killing more people than wars and other violence, the United Nations announced on World Water Day. Almost all dirty water produced in homes, businesses, farms, and factories in developing countries is washed into rivers and seas without being decontaminated.

And up to 60 percent of supplies that have been purified to the point that they are potable are lost through leaky pipes and ill-maintained sewage networks, according to a report released today. Saving half of these lost supplies could give clean water to 90 million people without the need for costly new infrastructure, says the UN.

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Internet threatens rare species, conservationists warn

The internet has emerged as one of the biggest threats to endangered species, according to conservationists who are meeting in Doha, Qatar. Campaigners say it is easier than ever before to buy and sell anything from live baby lions to polar bear pelts on online auction sites and chatrooms.

The findings were presented at the 175-nation Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites). Several proposals to give endangered species more protection were defeated.
Delegates will vote on changes to the trade in ivory later this week.

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Tuna, polar bear protections rejected

Delegates gathered in Doha, Qatar for a global conference aimed at protecting imperiled species rejected a proposal Thursday that would have banned international trade of Atlantic bluefin tuna, a coveted fish whose numbers have dropped steeply in recent decades.

The proposal, offered by Monaco and co-sponsored by the United States, failed by a margin of 20 in favor and 68 against, with 30 abstaining. The vote came just hours after the 175 countries assembled at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) rejected a U.S. proposal to limit the hunting of polar bears.

"This was a case of just plain ignoring the science for short-term economic gain," said Susan Lieberman, director of international policy at the Pew Environment Group, in an interview from Doha.

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IBM invents Earth-friendly plastic made from plants

IBM researchers on Tuesday said they have discovered a way to make Earth-friendly plastic from plants that could replace petroleum-based products tough on the environment.

The breakthrough promises biodegradable plastics made in a way that saves on energy, according to Chandrasekhar "Spike" Narayan, a manager of science and technology at IBM's Almaden Research Center in Northern California.

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Nobel Prize-Winning Scientists and Economists Call on Senate to Address Climate Change Now

Nobel Prize-winning economists and scientists will deliver a letter to the U.S. Senate today, urging lawmakers to require immediate cuts in global warming emissions. The letter was signed by more than 2,000 prominent U.S. economists and climate scientists, including eight Nobel laureates, 32 National Academy of Sciences members, 11 MacArthur "genius award" winners, and three National Medal of Science recipients.

"The nation's leading scientists and economists have joined together to tell policymakers we agree about the urgency of addressing climate change now," said James McCarthy, one of the letter's organizers and a biological oceanography professor at Harvard University. "The bad news is the science of climate change is indisputable. The good news is we can cost-effectively cut the emissions that are causing it."

McCarthy is a former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the chairman of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) board, and a leader of the Nobel Peace Prize winning U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

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Humans driving extinction faster than species can evolve, say experts

For the first time since the dinosaurs disappeared, humans are driving animals and plants to extinction faster than new species can evolve, one of the world's experts on biodiversity has warned.

Conservation experts have already signalled that the world is in the grip of the "sixth great extinction" of species, driven by the destruction of natural habitats, hunting, the spread of alien predators and disease, and climate change.

TVNL Comment: Humans have behaved like a deadly virus on this planet. We destroy everything and anything and we leave behind a planet that can not sustain life.

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