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Drilling for oil in the Arctic refuge has been a highly active public battle for years now... in the USA that is. Now after decades of talking it seems the area is safe from drilling. Unfortunately now Russia, with its more than abominable track record in environmental protection, is pretty active lately in securing its so-called 'rights' to the Arctic shelf.
The area Russia claims is about the size of two thirds of Europe, a whopping one million and two hundred thousand square kilometres. More importantly the area gives access to an expected 9 to 10 billion tonnes of oil and natural gas. Already Russian / Gazprom officials have acknowledged their intention to drill for oil and gas as soon as they get control. Judging from the way Gazprom got control (simply by cooperating with the government in kicking Shell out of the country) over the Sakhalin project I'm afraid there won't be much discussion regarding the effects of this on the ecosystem if Russia gets this control over the region.
Here's a short video of the latest 'pr expedition' (in Russian). The vessel featured is the nuclear powered icebreaker NS Rossiya (Russia).
Last week I posted about Planktos, a company working on a commercial scale iron-fertilization programme. An issue I've had an interest in for some years now, mainly as it seemed to be a threat mostly ignored by mainstream conservation organisations and conservation-loving countries. This lack of action led to a number of for-profit companies trying to take advantage and make a quick buck by selling the activity as a good, scientifically sound, way of battling climate change. Some days ago Greenpeace, in cooperation with the ETC Group and CTA, finally released an official, public, statement on this issue.
This has been discussed during a meeting of the London Convention Scientific Group (agenda, pdf) that took place in Spain last week. The convention's final statement of concern (see below for the full text and a number of statements) is pretty damning for current commercial applications of the iron fertilisation theory.(read the full article)
It's not all coral and tropical paradise in the ocean. Many areas boost less life than the centre of the Gobi desert. However, CO2 instead of water is the limiting factor in the marine environment. One part iron, one part CO2 and the algae is boosting. A number of American companies is now going to commercially exploit this by eco-engineering the ocean; e.g. dumping 100 tonnes of iron sulphide in it. It's falsely promoted as a potential solution for climate change.
Now I should be writing an entire article here... but unfortunately I have no time today. Instead here is a Dutch article I wrote some two months ago. I'll see if I can translate it some time during the weekend.
Saturday I went to visit the opening of a new wind park near Baburen. At this location the five older-generation, 600kw, Bonus wind turbines have been replaced by six impressive Siemens 1.3mw machines. The older Bonus windturbines are sold and will be installed somewhere in Poland during the summer.
Today's update is a video-blog:
More information on the traditional windmill can be found on the page of the Dutch Traditional Windmill Association. Enjoy the video :)
Created in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro - although not yet officially designated by the United Nations - World Ocean Day (1 and 2) is an opportunity each year to celebrate our world ocean and our personal connection to the sea. Do your own thing, visit the seashore today, have a nice stroll and respect our oceans :-)
Today I'm trying something new here; a variety of interesting environmental news from around the world. They are mostly non-related to each other, but all interesting from a conservation point of view. I would appreciate it some of you could leave a comment on this article or mail me (for some reason the comment:email ratio is 1:2 at the moment, any insight in that?) and let me know if this post format is interesting.
'Wildlife watchdog to wade into commercial fisheries, timber industries'
In a shift of direction, the international body overseeing wildlife trade will consider limitations on commercial fisheries and timber, its director said Sunday, and may regulate such species as the shark popular in fish and chips and the aromatic cedar tree used for fine furniture and humidors.
This is about CITES, if they succeed, which is doubtful as the US, Canada and some other key plays has a strong interest in keeping this out of the convention, it will be a very strong new management tool to regulate commercial fisheries that are deemed unsustainable or problematic. One very interesting bit here is that CITES has a somewhat precautionary approach build in its workings. (see this paper, free registration is needed)
'Towards sustainable development of Jamaica's fishing industry'
Interesting essay on the fisheries industry and the current (or maybe not so current when we see that problems were first acknowledged in 1945) issues surrounding fisheries in this small country.
The last item I have is a double whammy. Two articles that discuss the same news item. However, they present a very different picture.
The first article discusses studying, surveying, of Bruneise marine resources while the second one gives the impression that the Japanese are there to teach and share information. A close read gives some clues about the real meaning of these activities though; the connection is with the Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, and the Japanese are in Brunei to explorer and gain access to new deep water grounds to provide for their ever demanding home market.