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Arab Post-Political Turmoil--a Time for Environmental Diplomacy Environmental security led by water security will play an important role in establishing and maintaining stability in North Africa and the Middle East. The capital of Yemen is expected to run out of water much sooner. While water could exacerbate present turmoil in the region, it could also be used as a catalyst for peacebuilding.

During the five years, the proportion of renewables should grow to A sharp rise in public security spending, which for the first time overtook the military budget, is aiming to reduce the rich-poor gap and the number of people living in poverty. The panel recommended increased strategic cooperation among the organizations that work in these areas.

European Low-Carbon Roadmap to Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area — Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system , a white paper by the European Commission, outlines the roadmap for a low-carbon economy by in the EU. The EC is now expected to put forward various legislative proposals to implement the transport strategy. The European Commission maps a path to a low-carbon future. European Commission Opens Study on Maritime Planning The European Commission has posted a questionnaire for collecting expert and public opinion on the importance, potential implementation strategies, and challenges for improving EU maritime spatial planning MSP and integrated coastal zone management.

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The questions are formulated around the importance of such strategies in view of better collaboration among Member States, as well as with EU neighboring countries, cohesive data collection and management, improving sustainable economic growth, resilience to coastal risks and impacts of climate change, and environmental protection.

Conclusions about potential further actions will be decided by the end of The conference was organized by the WHO in collaboration with a consortium of cancer organizations.

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The conference recommended that the WHO lead a global effort for establishing a network of institutions for policy development, while civil society networks should raise awareness, and industry and the private sector should not only implement measures and better inform their workers on risks they face but also contribute to policy development. According to the researchers, the new technology could easily be incorporated by any earthquake processing or tsunami warning center that receives real-time global seismic information, which would allow for an easy transition to the new detection equipment.

The technology is expected to be ready for general distribution soon. The program allows bioinformatics analysis on an implementation of the government-proposed outline for a screening protocol for the automatic identification of potentially dangerous DNA sequences.

Nanotech-Augmented Membrane for Desalination Prof. Somenath Mitra and colleagues at the New Jersey Institute of Technology have reported development of a new membrane for water desalination. William Heineman of the Univ. The process begins with a coating that allows only negative ions to pass, continues with electrolysis, and ends with spectroscopy. The device has been tested on radioactive waste at the Hanford site.

A UC news release suggests applying it for detection of toxic heavy metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons at Superfund locations.

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Paul Painter and his group in the Dept. The technique utilizes a group of ionic liquids based on 1-alkylmethylimidazolium cations, consumes little water or energy, requires no heat, and ejects the contaminant material and solvent separately for further use.

Guide Glass House: Climate Change in the Third Millennium

Computational models predict nanoparticle toxicity Two recent papers discuss the use of computational models to predict nanoparticle cell toxicity. Such a model was used to assess the toxicity to E. Javid Rzayev and colleagues at the State University of New York at Buffalo have used block copolymers to create a nanomembrane containing pores about 55 nm in diameter — much larger than a water molecule but smaller than a bacterium, and thus suitable for use as a water filter component.

Chad Vecitis and a group at Yale Univ. Liming Dai, has published a paper announcing a major breakthrough in the design of fuel cell cathodes. The new components are also claimed to be longer-lasting and more stable. Berkeley Lab Produces Nanocomposite for Hydrogen Storage A scientific team at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has reported developing a composite material for the storage of hydrogen. Made of magnesium metal nanoparticles encapsulated in a gas-barrier matrix, the new polymer allows rapid hydrogen breathability at non-extreme temperatures without oxidizing the metal after cycling.

This supplementary protocol to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity provides international rules and procedures for liability and redress in the event of damage to biodiversity caused by trans-boundary movement of living modified organisms. It will enter into force 90 days after ratification by 40 countries. Greenness of New Technologies Needing Rare Earth Elements Questioned The annual demand for rare earth elements has skyrocketed over the last decade from 40, tons to , tons, and by this might increase to , tons, if green and IT technologies continue as forecasted, notes The Independent.

Meanwhile, China cut its exports to only about 30, tons a year and threatens to completely stop them by The main problem is that rare earth mining and ore processing are extremely polluting. Present discrepancies between national environmental standards and regulations can make rare earth processing similar to hazardous waste dumping and might lead to increased environmental security issues.

Geological Survey data, the number of mega-quakes increased from four in the s, to six in the s and 13 in the last decade, while the number of major earthquakes for the same decades increased from 1, to 1,, and 1, respectively. Although there is no consensus among scientists about the link between the increased frequency and intensity of earthquakes and climate change, it is believed that the melting of glaciers might be a factor. The Taiwan Central Weather Bureau reported that over the past century its temperature rose by 1.

In Somalia, 2. Melting glaciers and sea ice The Arctic sea ice extent reached a record low A study found that the Arctic plankton blooming peak shifted from September in the s, to July in , occurring up to 50 days earlier. This is expected to also have a ripple effect for other species. Rising Seas Level New research found that ice loss from Antarctica and Greenland has accelerated over the last 20 years and is occurring faster than models predict. If these trends continue, the two polar ice sheets would add 15 cm 5.

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While previously the villagers were asking the government to build sea walls so that they could remain in the village, now they ask for help with relocation, reported Kiribati President Anote Tong. Health Warmer waters could increase the spread of harmful bacteria and toxic algal species, which, if ingested via contaminated seafood or water, could cause gastrointestinal infections and infectious diseases such as cholera.

Increased rainwater in urban areas could exceed sewage system capacities and cause storm water overflows, which could taint drinking water and increase risks of waterborne diseases like cholera. It confirmed its commitment for a second period under a Protocol that would preferably be a single legally binding instrument including the essential elements of the Kyoto Protocol, applied to all major economies. It also suggested that the upcoming Durban Climate Conference address the reforming of existing carbon market mechanisms and the establishment of new sectoral or other scaled-up market mechanisms.

The Nanosafety Cluster, a projects and stakeholders open forum, has as its main aims synergy among these projects, collaboration for maximizing impact, policy elaboration, planning of future actions, and international cooperation.

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The evaluation covers 19 aspects of the production process, including manufactured nanomaterial types and characteristics; nanoparticle exposure, risk, and risk assessment and management; life cycle analysis; and exposure control and measurement. It discusses governmental powers and others' obligations in this area, with an emphasis on Dutch and EU legislation.

Alan Randall of Australia's Univ. According to the author, his scheme, " If we can quickly identify those cases where further testing is necessary, precaution could be less intrusive and costly while still providing substantial protection from harm. It would like to build on the accomplishments of ongoing research to develop strategic research goals and objectives through NIOSH identified ten critical research areas for the effort and five key goals; they are laid out in the Federal Register announcement.

NIOSH requests comment on how research in these areas can be enhanced. Sources: www. New Set of Tools for Estimating Data Center Carbon Footprint The commercial company APC recently introduced a set of free Web-based tools, using a simple approach, for estimating the carbon footprint of a data center anywhere in the world.

February The UN Security Council session of February 11, , focused on the links between security, climate change, and development. Investing about 1. Middle East Protests and Oil Prices Increase Energy Security Concerns Energy security concerns around the world are increasing as the scope and spectrum of the protests started in the Middle East at the beginning of are expanding.

The political turmoil could further affect the living standards in the region, fuelling tension in an already conflict-prone region. Extended interruptions in oil supplies from these countries would probably drive up prices further. Unreliable production and exportation of oil from the region would cause greater demand on oil supplies from the North Sea and Africa. In January , Russia already the leading producer of oil signed a deal with British Petroleum to begin drilling for oil in the Arctic Ocean.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates in Beijing and urged the two militaries to deepen strategic trust. Sources: Chinese president meets U. Nanomaterials are among priority chemicals that will be subject to in-depth hazard assessment, exposure analysis, and safety studies.

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Its environmental protection agency is considering tougher environmental regulations to curb heavy metal pollution. Most notable are contamination of large quantities of rice with heavy metals like cadmium, and lead poisoning mostly of children , which began triggering protests.

The network will have 50 stations in the U. The observations will be made using a cavity ring-down spectroscope from Picarro of Sunnyvale CA. It will compare the behavior of laser beams passing through two chambers, one empty and one air-filled; the measurement is accurate within a few parts per billion ppb. Andrew Barron and colleagues at Rice Univ. This discovery substantially expands the possible significance of geothermal power as an alternative energy source. The Directive also sets producer and consumer responsibilities, and holds the exporter responsible for the legality of WEEE export and treatment in developing countries.

The European Council is expected to debate the proposal in March It concluded that the transition to a zero-waste society is key to achieving green growth and sustainable development. Delegates also agreed to establish the International Partnership for Expanding Waste Management Services of Local Authorities IPLA to serve as a clearinghouse of best practices and boost waste management capacity at local and regional levels.

Three phthalates, a flame retardant, a synthetic musk, and a compound used in epoxy resins and adhesives are to be phased out from to It has been gradually reducing export quotas since and might even become a major importer, due to its high level of consumption of these materials. There are speculations that the government is planning to reduce the number of active rare earth metal mines from the current to approximately 10, as well as reduce processing facilities by more than two-thirds. S energy independence. Lack of a clear legal system, and liability and redress framework for environmental damage from exploitation of natural resources might keep the case unsettled for several more years.

Prices of all monitored commodity groups showed strong gains, with the exception of meat, which remained constant. If China, which has the highest foreign exchange reserves, begins importing large quantities of food, international prices might rise even higher, with serious impact on the rest of the world.

A five-point action plan developed by FAO to help countries cope with food price volatility includes creating a multilateral mechanism to improve transparency of food markets. It underscores that integrating crops can also be an effective climate change mitigation approach. He built roads, schools, an airport, and in , a story World Trade Centre, at the time the tallest building in the Middle East. Dubai was not a center of world trade when Rashid built his centre, but it is now. When he dug a giant new port at Jebel Ali, having already dredged the Creek, even his sons were baffled by his optimism.

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Dubai had never had more than a small fraction of what Abu Dhabi had. His grandson would drive a Land Rover too—but his great grandson might ride a camel again.

Unless, that is, the Al Maktoums played their cards right. Worrying about your footprint comes later. The building is home to an Armani-designed hotel, apartments, office space, restaurants—and to more energy-efficient systems. Arab merchants pioneered the use of the three-cornered lateen sail more than a millennium ago. As Sheikh Mohammed tells that story in his own book, My Vision, the new sail helped Arab dhows outdistance their square-sailed competitors.