Category: Comment & Opinion

Opinion: Calling all hackers – endangered wildlife needs you

In recent months, there’s been a global push to get tech companies to help combat terrorist activities – to make it harder for terrorists to communicate and publicize their heinous attacks online. We need the same kind of resolute effort – led by hackers and savvy computer users – to fight illegal hunting and trading.

It’s been four decades since the first credible, global report on the effect of carbon dioxide on the global climate. Shutterstock

40 years ago, scientists predicted climate change. And hey, they were right

Forty years ago, a group of climate scientists sat down at Woods Hole in Massachusetts for the first meeting of the “Ad Hoc Group on Carbon Dioxide and Climate”. It led to the preparation of what became known as the Charney Report – the first comprehensive assessment of global climate change due to carbon dioxide.

Government negligence, rampant development and illegal land clearing spark wildfires in Indonesia that annually ravage thousands of acres of forest. AP Photo

Resource depletion is a serious problem, but ‘footprint’ estimates don’t tell us much about it

Experts widely agree that human activities are harming the global environment. Since the Industrial Revolution, the world economy has grown dramatically. Overall this is a success story, since rising incomes have lifted millions of people out of poverty. But it has been fueled by population growth and increasing consumption of natural resources.

Pellet makers say they use only lumber mill waste, treetops and limbs, and crooked trees to produce wood pellets. Industry critics argue that companies are increasingly clear-cutting forests to meet growing demand. Losing standing forests means losing natural carbon sinks, biodiversity and protection from storms and floods. Photo credit: USDAgov on Visual Hunt / CC BY

UK’s net-zero emissions 2050 pledge undermined by biomass energy loophole

The United Kingdom and the European Union are setting goals to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. But that declaration is deeply flawed, analysts say, due to a long-standing United Nations carbon accounting loophole that turns a blind eye toward the conversion of coal burning power plants to burning wood pellets.

Global scientific eating plan forgets the world’s poor

A team of 37 world-leading scientists from 16 countries have just released the world’s first ever scientific eating plan. The diet sounds like a silver bullet, but we have found it to be slightly problematic. It doesn’t recognise the enormous differences across the world when it comes to food consumption and production systems.

How the marvel of electric light became a global blight to health

Light pollution is often characterised as a soft issue in environmentalism. This perception needs to change. Light at night constitutes a massive assault on the ecology of the planet, including us. It also has indirect impacts because, while 20 per cent of electricity is used for lighting worldwide, at least 30 per cent of that light is wasted.