Climate change department closed by British Prime Minister

July 18, 2016 by  
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In voting to exit the European Union , the United Kingdom may also have voted to take a step back from the reality of climate change . In one of her first acts as Prime Minister, Theresa May dissolved the national Department for Energy and Climate Change and repackaged climate change policy into the new Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. This follows May’s appointment of Andrea Leadsom, an industry friendly climate skeptic , as Environmental Minister. Scientists, environmentalists and many elected officials are not pleased with the new turn that the post- Brexit United Kingdom has taken. “Climate change is the biggest challenge we face, and it must not be an afterthought for the Government,” says Green Party MP Caroline Lucas. The recent climate policy decisions “show a lack of understanding posed by climate change to the UK and the world,” says Greenpeace Executive Director John Sauven. “If we are to continue to have a key global role in environmental action, we need urgent reassurance from the new government that the hard won progress on climate and renewables targets, air pollution and the protection of wildlife will not be sidelined or abandoned in the Brexit negotiations.” Related: UK’s Brexit vote could reverse environmental protections and contribute to climate change The UK government’s apparent loss of interest in climate change is a stark contrast to recent progressive policy decisions. In 2008, Parliament passed a Climate Change Act that committed the UK to an 80 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The UK was also one of 178 countries that signed the Paris Agreement, further cementing its commitment to climate change action. The unexpected outcome of the Brexit vote should serve as a warning to the United States. If the American electorate makes a similar decision in November, it would empower climate skeptics and industry politicians to dismantle the progress that has been made by the Obama Administration . Via the Independent Images via UK Home Office and Matt Brown

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Climate change department closed by British Prime Minister

Bornean orangutans are now ‘critically endangered’

July 18, 2016 by  
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According to a new assessment by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Bornean orangutans are now ‘ critically endangered .’ Habitat destruction , illegal logging , and hunting are all to blame for the dwindling orangutan numbers. But Andrew Marshall, one of the assessment authors, said the fight isn’t over yet. Although many of the forests where Bornean orangutans reside are protected by the Brunei, Indonesian, and Malaysian governments, burning and illegal logging still threatens the orangutan’s homes. Many forest patches that remain are either isolated or degraded, so what land the orangutans do have left may not contain enough resources to support them. Related: Recently captured critically endangered Sumatran rhino dies To make matters worse, orangutans don’t reproduce very often. In fact, they have the ” longest birth interval of any land mammal .” Females reproduce every six to eight years, and only have about three babies during their lives, making it that much more difficult for orangutan populations to rebound. According to the IUCN assessment, “The combined impacts of habitat loss, habitat degradation, and illegal hunting equate to an 86 percent population reduction between 1973 and 2025 which qualifies the species for listing as Critically Endangered.” But hope isn’t lost yet. Marshall told Mongabay , “Although I think things will likely get worse before they get better, it’s not too late for orangutans.” He said some recent studies indicate orangutans adapt better to degraded habitats than we used to think. Also, Indonesian president Joko Widodo recently said he’d work to limit the growth of the palm oil industry , which has long been criticized for destroying animal homes. If the Indonesian government and other governments can stick to their word and protect orangutan habitats, the species has a better chance at recovery. Via The Guardian Images via Wikimedia Commons and Joan Campderrós-i-Canas on Flickr

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Bornean orangutans are now ‘critically endangered’

Why a Canadian prime minister is visiting the White House for the first time in 20 years

March 9, 2016 by  
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A Canadian head of state has not been invited to the White House in 20 years , but President Barack Obama is breaking the trend. This week, he will welcome newly-elected prime minister Justin Trudeau to Washington, D.C. to address a common goal: combating climate change . Read the rest of Why a Canadian prime minister is visiting the White House for the first time in 20 years

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