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Senseless overfishing - world's marine fisheries losing $50 billion each year

World Bank and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) calculate the losses at 50 billion US dollars per year

(quote)

The world's fishing fleets are losing billions of dollars each year through depleted stocks and poor management, according to a UN report. The World Bank and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) calculate the losses at $50bn per year. Half the world's fishing fleet could be scrapped with no change in catch.

'no take zones' have been shown to improve fish stocks and biodiversity

The report was launched at World Bank headquarters in New York and has been debated here at the World Conservation Congress in Barcelona, Spain. Entitled The Sunken Billions: Economic Justification for Fisheries Reform, it argues that reforming the way fisheries are managed could restore stocks and build profits. "There are two reasons why we are experiencing the huge loss," said Rolf Willman, a senior fisheries planning officer at FAO and one of the report's authors. "One is that global fish stocks are much lower than they could be, so it is harder to catch the amount of fish that we could. "If stocks were higher we could catch the same amount at lower cost. The second reason is that where fishing is poorly regulated, we have much greater harvesting capacity than we need," he told BBC News.  read more »

Getting worse: half of mammals in decline, 1 in 4 faces extinction; conservation can bring species back

the Caspian seal population has dropped by about 90 percent over the past hundred years

(quote)

BARCELONA, Spain, October 6, 2008 (ENS) - The world's mammals are in the grip of an extinction crisis, with almost one in four at risk of vanishing forever, according to the latest scientific assessment revealed at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's World Conservation Congress, which opened Sunday in Barcelona.

The new study conducted for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species for the first time assessed all of the 5,487 mammals on Earth and found that at least 1,141 of them are known to be threatened with extinction. At least 76 mammals have become extinct since the year 1500.

Pere David's deer, native to China, is among the species listed as ‘extinct in the wild’ on the 2008 International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN's) Red List of Threatened Species

The real situation could be much worse as 836 mammals are listed as Data Deficient. With better information, scientists may classify even more species as being in danger of extinction. "Within our lifetime hundreds of species could be lost as a result of our own actions, a frightening sign of what is happening to the ecosystems where they live," said Julia Marton-Lefèvre, IUCN director general.  read more »

World first fuel-saving carbon-cutting program: Air New Zealand passengers take a ride on the 'perfect flight'

FAA working with Air New Zealand finding new ways of making flights more environmentally friendly and fuel efficient

(quote)

Air New Zealand's "perfect flight" using optimal flying conditions and the co-operation of US, New Zealand and Australian aviation authorities, was hailed as a success in San Francisco on Friday. Using new technologies and procedures on a flight from Auckland, Air New Zealand cut waiting time, trimmed flying time, saved 1,200 gallons of fuel (around 4% less fuel than normally used), eliminated 30,000 pounds of harmful carbon emissions and took a quieter approach on arrival at San Francisco International Airport.

Air New Zealand Flight 8 from Auckland to San Francisco

The normal commercial flight NZ8, dubbed ASPIRE 1 (Asia and South Pacific Initiative to Reduce Emissions) is the first tailored test flight on the Pacific using technology and cleared gates at each end, eliminating air traffic congestion to test flight and fuel efficiency. It is part of a worldwide drive to make the aviation industry more environmentally friendly.  read more »

Towers of food, farms in the sky: self-sustaining skyscrapers in the city, vertical farming gains new interest

'You could develop a community surrounding each of these vertical farms,' said Dr. Despommier, who believes that striking designs like this pyramid are key to the concept's success. 'You want people to say, 'I want that in my backyard.'

(quote)

What if “eating local” in Shanghai or New York meant getting your fresh produce from five blocks away? And what if skyscrapers grew off the grid, as verdant, self-sustaining towers where city slickers cultivated their own food?

vertical farm design modeled after the Capitol Records building in Los Angeles features a prominent renewable energy source: a rotating solar panel that, like a sunflower, gyrates to face the sun

Dickson Despommier, a professor of public health at Columbia University, hopes to make these zucchini-in-the-sky visions a reality. Dr. Despommier’s pet project is the “vertical farm,” a concept he created in 1999 with graduate students in his class on medical ecology, the study of how the environment and human health interact.  read more »

CA Governor orders pay cuts, lay-offs of state workers; Consequences, at individual level and society as a whole?

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed an order Thursday eliminating thousands of part-time state jobs; the DMV is one of several agencies expected to be affected by the cuts

(quote)

SACRAMENTO - On Thursday, July 31, California’s Republican Governor Schwarzenegger signed an executive order cutting the pay of up to 200,000 state employees to the federal minimum of $6.55/hour and firing over 10,000 part time and temporary workers until the state’s budget impasse is resolved. The order exempts public safety agencies but will have an immediate effect everywhere else: Hiring, overtime and contracting will be halted, and tens of thousands of employees will feel the squeeze. It covers 22,000 retired state employees who work under contract, temporary and part-time workers such as those who fill in at the Department of Motor Vehicles, seasonal employees and student assistants. The order affects the approximately 10,000 state employees in San Diego and Riverside counties. They work at Department of Motor Vehicles offices, highway offices, state parks and beaches, unemployment offices, fish hatcheries and agriculture inspection stations.

California State Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican  read more »

Deficit zooming to new record of half trillion for fiscal year 2009 - Impact of Iraq War

The US Government's budget deficit is tipped to soar to a record of nearly half a trillion dollars in fiscal 2009

(quote)

WASHINGTON - The White House predicted yesterday that President Bush would leave a record $482 billion deficit to his successor, a sobering turnabout in the nation's fiscal condition from 2001, when Bush took office after three consecutive years of budget surpluses.

The worst may be yet to come. The deficit announced by Jim Nussle, the White House budget director, does not reflect the full cost of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the potential $50 billion cost of another economic stimulus package, or the possibility of steeper losses in tax revenues if individual income or corporate profits decline.

The new deficit numbers also do not account for any drains on the national treasury that might result from further declines in the housing market. The White House forecast was prepared before passage of the huge housing assistance package that Bush has promised to sign. That legislation would put taxpayer money at risk in numerous ways, especially if housing prices continue to decline.

Costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have<br />
sapped the US budget  read more »

EU, US and Iran to hold historical nuclear talks in Geneva; Iran open to US diplomatic talks

Senior official William Burns will sit at the same table as Iran's negotiator

(quote)

GENEVA (Reuters) - Major world powers will sound out Iran's readiness to negotiate an end to the long dispute over its nuclear program on Saturday. The unprecedented participation of a senior U.S. official in the one-day meeting in Geneva, together with Iranian comments playing down the likelihood of an attack by the United States and Israel, have raised hopes of progress.

Arriving for talks with officials from the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany -- the so-called sextet -- chief Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili said he had "positive intentions". Jalili has a mandate from Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to take any decision needed, a senior Iranian official told Reuters, adding that the meeting "will clarify the fate of the negotiations".

senior Iran diplomat Jalili will discuss Iran's nuclear program with Western officials over the weekend  read more »

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