World’s rarest marine mammal could face extinction under Trump administration

March 26, 2018 by  
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Under 30 vaquita porpoises live in the wild — but Donald Trump’s administration may be violating federal laws that could protect the animals, according to a lawsuit recently filed by conservation groups and reported on by Mother Jones . Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) staff attorney Giulia Good Stefani said in a statement  that the lawsuit “might be the vaquita’s last chance.” Will vaquitas vanish forever? Environmental groups are concerned they might, and the NRDC, Center for Biological Diversity , and Animal Welfare Institute are calling out Trump’s administration for failing to protect what the World Wildlife Fund calls the world’s rarest  marine mammal . The 1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act  requires the Secretary of the Treasury to “ban the importation of commercial fish or products from fish which have been caught with commercial fishing technology which results in the incidental kill or incidental serious injury of ocean mammals in excess of United States standards.” The vaquita can drown in gill nets, which are used to catch seafood , but the Trump administration has not banned seafood harvested with these nets in the Gulf of California, the sole habitat of the vaquita. Related: Trump administration ‘declares war’ on West Coast turtles, dolphins, and whales Gill nets kill around 50 percent of the vaquita population every single year — and, according to the Center for Biological Diversity, the creatures might even go extinct next year if fishing practices aren’t changed. Mexico  also hasn’t permanently banned all gill nets in the Gulf of California, though scientists have recommended they do so. And Animal Welfare Institute’s marine animal program director, Susan Millward, said the United States is “a leading importer of fish products caught in the upper Gulf of California.” The groups that filed the suit are calling for an immediate US ban on seafood imports that come from the upper Gulf and Mexican shrimp, hoping such a move would pressure Mexico to completely ban gil lnets in the vaquita’s habitat. Millward said, “The U.S. seafood market should not be contributing to the extinction of a species.” + Center for Biological Diversity Via Mother Jones Images via Wikimedia Commons and NOAA Restoration Center, Chris Doley

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World’s rarest marine mammal could face extinction under Trump administration

Oslo’s new airport city could power the entire surrounding community

March 26, 2018 by  
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Airports aren’t always known for their energy efficiency, but Norway is planning to change that. Norwegian architectural practices Haptic Architects and Nordic – Office of Architecture  have announced plans for a sustainable smart city , powered entirely by renewable energy, near Oslo Airport. The complex will be the world’s first energy-positive airport city and it will have the capacity to sell surplus energy to surrounding buildings and communities. Plans for the Oslo Airport City line up with the country’s shift from reliance on fossil fuels to renewable energy and its readiness to embrace green technologies . For example, the city will serve as a testing ground for technology-driven urban design, including the incorporation of self-driving electric cars, automatic street lighting, and smart technology for services such as mobility, waste and security. Related: China announces plans to build nearly 300 new eco-cities “This is a unique opportunity to design a new city from scratch,” said Tomas Stokke, director and co-founder of Haptic Architects. “Using robust city planning strategies such as walkability, appropriate densities, active frontages and a car-free city center, combined with the latest developments in technology, we will be able to create a green, sustainable city of the future. Capitalizing on the central location in northern Europe, a highly skilled workforce and proximity to an expansive and green airport , OAC has all the ingredients needed to make this a success,” he added. The city will be car-free , and it will provide many green spaces for the airport’s growing workforce, which is expected to increase from 22,000 to 40,000 people by 2050. The project received outline planning consent for development and is slated for completion in 2022. + Haptic Architects + Nordic – Office of Architecture Images by Forbes Massie

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Oslo’s new airport city could power the entire surrounding community

Chevron admits "there’s no debate about climate science" in court hearing

March 23, 2018 by  
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“From Chevron’s perspective there’s no debate about climate science ,” attorney Theodore Boutrous Jr. said in a courtroom this week. In a case pitting Big Oil companies against the cities of San Francisco and Oakland , which allege the fossil fuel corporations should pay for actions like sea walls to deal with the impacts of climate change , Chevron’s attorney acknowledged that manmade climate change is real. Don’t get too excited, though. According to Boutrous, it may be real, but it isn’t Chevron’s fault – it’s yours. United States District Judge William Alsup called for a two-part climate change tutorial  earlier this month to help educate all the parties involved in the lawsuit on climate change. During this tutorial,  Science Magazine and The Verge reported that Chevron agreed with the existing scientific consensus. The tutorial wasn’t an echo of the famous Scopes trial, according to Alsup. Science Magazine said he told the audience, “This will not be withering cross-examinations and so forth. This will be numbers and diagrams, and if you get bored you can just leave.” Prominent scientists spoke for San Francisco and Oakland, but Boutrous was the sole speaker for the oil industry — and he said, “Chevron accepts what the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] has reached consensus on concerning science and climate change.” Related: Federal court orders first hearing on the science of climate change Boutrous did emphasize parts of the IPCC’s fifth climate science assessment report regarding uncertainties, according to Science Magazine, such as challenges over predictions of sea level rise in particular parts of the planet or modeling Antarctic ice’s response to increasing temperatures. Even if Chevron does agree on the science, they don’t seem to agree a lawsuit is the correct way to tackle climate change — Boutrous described it as a global issue necessitating global action. Chevron spokesperson Sean Comey told The Verge the company “welcomes meaningful efforts to address the issue of climate change, but litigation is not an appropriate tool for accomplishing that objective.” He also claims that Chevron is no more to blame for climate change than anyone else. “Anyone in the world could be brought in in the case, including the plaintiffs themselves,” he said. Which gets to the crux of the argument: Chevron claims that burning fossil fuels is to blame, so it rests on the shoulders of those driving cars or heating their homes with coal to stop climate change. But the plaintiffs argue that, like the cigarette companies in the past, companies like Chevron knew about the impact of their product on the environment and chose to continue pushing it. Science Magazine said Exxon, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, and ConocoPhillips, the other oil companies involved, stayed away from the tutorial as they have questioned Alsup’s jurisdiction to hear the case. Alsup afforded them two weeks to disagree with what Boutrous had to say, or he’ll assume they’re in agreement. Via The Verge and Science Magazine Images via Depositphotos and Pixabay

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Chevron admits "there’s no debate about climate science" in court hearing

$15 billion settlement approved after Volkswagen emissions scandal

October 25, 2016 by  
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After Volkswagen Group cheated emissions tests utilizing software, they were slapped with multiple lawsuits . Today Judge Charles Breyer, a federal judge at the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, approved a settlement of nearly $15 billion. In the history of the United States, this is the biggest automotive scandal settlement ever. The historic settlement is between Volkswagen Group , vehicle owners, California regulators, and the government. Under the settlement, Volkswagen will buy back vehicles from 475,000 U.S. owners of 2-liter VW and Audi cars or provide a repair if such a fix is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Hundreds of employees have been tasked with handling buybacks. Owners can also obtain payouts from $5,100 to $9,852 if they choose the repair. Related: VW promises $14.7 billion to U.S. owners of cars affected by emissions cheating scandal 336,000 owners have registered to participate in the settlement. Volkswagen has until October 2017 to design an acceptable fix or they must offer buybacks for all affected owners. In addition to paying consumers, Volkswagen will pay billions toward environmental mitigation. A settlement with 80,000 owners of three-liter vehicles is still being negotiated. During a hearing on October 18 around 20 Volkswagen owners objected, but Judge Breyer described the settlement as “fair, reasonable, and adequate.” In the ruling he said, “The priority was to get the polluting cars off the road as soon as possible. The settlement does that.” In a statement U.S. Volkswagen CEO Hinrich J. Woebcken said they will work to ensure the program “is now carried out as seamlessly as possible.” Volkswagen isn’t in the clear yet; German prosecutors and the U.S. Justice Department are still conducting criminal investigations. Depending on the outcome of those investigations, Volkswagen may have to shell out still more money to compensate for their fraud. Via USA TODAY and the Los Angeles Times Images via Frank Behrens on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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$15 billion settlement approved after Volkswagen emissions scandal

Airbnb Scores Victory in NYC: Judge Rules That Host’s Actions Were Actually Not Illegal

October 1, 2013 by  
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A ruling made by an NYC judge fining an Airbnb host $2,400 for renting out his room caused quite a stir in May, but now another judge has overturned the decision . The victory is a boon to New York’s sharing economy but the circumstances of the appeal were quite specific . Find out more about the distinction that the judge made between a legal rental and an illegal one here . READ MORE > Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Airbnb , airbnb illegal in nyc , cheap nyc hotels , Christine Quinn , collaborative consumption , emily giske , fines , hotels , illegal airbnb , is airbnb legal , lawsuit , lodging , NYC , nyc airbnb , nyc apartments , nyc hotels , nyc rentals , sharing economy , short-term rentals        

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Airbnb Scores Victory in NYC: Judge Rules That Host’s Actions Were Actually Not Illegal

Radio Problems May Have Contributed to Deaths of 19 Firefighters During Yarnell Fire

October 1, 2013 by  
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A new investigation into the  raging fire that killed 19 elite firefighters in Arizona has revealed that some of the events which occurred may have been avoidable. Communication equipment problems resulted in 33 minutes of radio silence during which no one heard from the Granite Mountain Hotshots , and commanders didn’t make radio contact with them either. It was in this period of time that the crew left what was believed to be a safe spot on a ridge that had already been consumed by fire to seek another safe location , unknowingly walking to their own deaths in a basin thick with dry brush. Read the rest of Radio Problems May Have Contributed to Deaths of 19 Firefighters During Yarnell Fire Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Arizona , Communication Problems , Emergency Fire Shelter , firefighters , forest fire , Granite Mountain Hot Shots , Investigation , Radio Problems , Radio Silence , Yarnell Fire        

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Radio Problems May Have Contributed to Deaths of 19 Firefighters During Yarnell Fire

The Solar Decathlon 2013 Kicks Off This Week in Irvine, CA – Inhabitat Reports Live!

October 1, 2013 by  
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Photo by Stefano Paltera/U.S. Department of Energy Heads up green building fans – Inhabitat is reporting live from Irvine, California, where student teams from across the States and around the world are putting the final touches on 19 stunning ultra-efficient homes for the Solar Decathlon 2013 ! This annual competition challenges the best and brightest young architects and builders to construct the world’s most efficient solar-powered homes – and they’re pulling out every trick in the green building book to save energy and push utility bills down below zero. The competition officially begins on Thursday, October 3rd but we’re bringing you a sneak peek today and tomorrow – so stay tuned for photos and breaking news straight from the event! + Solar Decathlon 2013 + Solar Decathlon Coverage on Inhabitat Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Department of Energy , DOE , Doe Solar Decathlon , DOE Solar Decathlon 2013 , energy efficient building , Green Building , green design , passive house , Solar Decathlon , solar decathlon 2013 , solar home , solar powered house , Sustainable Building , sustainable design , U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon , U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013        

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The Solar Decathlon 2013 Kicks Off This Week in Irvine, CA – Inhabitat Reports Live!

Defiant Navy Releases Report that Shows Testing Could Kill Hundreds of Whales and Dolphins

September 12, 2013 by  
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Photo via Shutterstock Imagine experiencing a noise so loud that it could cause not only disorientation, but also physical trauma and brain bleeding, as well as bubbles that form in your organs. This is a very real possibility for thousands of whales and dolphins exposed to US Navy training and testing. The Navy recently released a report containing data from two environmental impact studies which confirm suspicions that testing could have devastating consequences for marine mammals off the U.S. east coast, Gulf of Mexico, Hawaii, and southern California between 2014 and 2019. Read the rest of Defiant Navy Releases Report that Shows Testing Could Kill Hundreds of Whales and Dolphins Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: baleen whales , California Coastal Commission , changes in behavior , death , dolphins , east coast , federal intervention , gulf of mexico , hawaii , lawsuit , michael jasny , military , minor injury , nrdc , org , phys , serious injury , SONAR , stranding , US Navy , whales        

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Defiant Navy Releases Report that Shows Testing Could Kill Hundreds of Whales and Dolphins

Germany’s Skyline Plaza Garden is a Versatile Green Roof Like We’ve Never Seen

September 12, 2013 by  
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Read the rest of Germany’s Skyline Plaza Garden is a Versatile Green Roof Like We’ve Never Seen Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: eco design , Frankfurt Germany , green design , green roof , Mahan Rykiel , rainwater catchment , Rooftop Yoga , stormwater runoff , sustainable design , Urban design , urban development , Urban Vineyard        

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Germany’s Skyline Plaza Garden is a Versatile Green Roof Like We’ve Never Seen

NASA Reveals Plans to Start Growing Vegetables in Space this Year

September 12, 2013 by  
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NASA is planning to grow fresh vegetables in space , 230 miles above the Earth. Later this year the space agency’s Vegetable Production System (VEGGIE) program  will send astronauts to the International Space Station with kits to grow six romaine lettuce plants. Hopefully the project will allow our space explorers to farm edible food in space for the first time in history. Read the rest of NASA Reveals Plans to Start Growing Vegetables in Space this Year Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: bacteria , carbon dioxide , Clean Food , Colonization , deep space , Farming in Space , Growing Food in Space , international space station , Is There Life on Mars , iss , LEDs , life on mars , nasa , News , Orbital Technologies Corporation , oxygen , Simulating Sunlight , Space Microbes , sustainable food , Urban Farming , Vegetable Production System program , VEGGIE Program        

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NASA Reveals Plans to Start Growing Vegetables in Space this Year

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