THE GREEN PLANET BLOG - Our World and Environment...

All about conservation, ecology, the environment, climate change, global warming, earth- watch, and new technologies etc.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The US and NZ to end impasse on Antarctica's Ross Sea...


By David Beniuk
New Zealand and the United States are holding one-on-one talks to try to solve an impasse over the creation of an historic marine protection area in Antarctica's Ross Sea.
The head of the US delegation at the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) meeting in Hobart says both countries are aware they will need to compromise if an agreement is to be reached.
The meeting is hoping to establish the world's largest marine protection area (MPA) after a deadline of this year was set in 2002.
The US and New Zealand have presented competing plans for the Ross Sea after originally working on a common proposal.
The New Zealand plan is for a larger area but the US proposal is favoured by environmental groups because it puts more restrictions on fishing.
New Zealand is anxious to protect its toothfish industry, while the US proposal would set up a no-fishing reference area for scientific research.
"If you have an MPA you have to establish objectives for the MPA," head of the US delegation Evan Bloom told NZ Newswire.
"Our objectives are somewhat different and to establish this type of reference area is one of our objectives, and so I think that leads to some differences.
"Both have been presented and both are under discussion and indeed we're talking with New Zealand at the same time."
CCAMLR's consensus model means all members will need to agree on a proposal.
Mr Bloom, who is director of the US Office of Ocean and Polar Affairs, said he was hopeful a deal could be struck.
But he said meeting the 2012 deadline was not the most important consideration.
"I'd love to have it happen this year. My main concern is that it be done and done well."
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has taken a personal interest in the progress of the talks, which will conclude next week.
"She has been active in talking with other leaders about the issue of marine protected areas and also with respect to this particular Ross Sea proposal, and she thinks it's important that we make progress in this area," Mr Bloom said.
The US will support two other MPA proposals on the table, one a joint Australian/French initiative for an area of east Antarctica and the other an EU move to protect ice shelves.

Read more:

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Dung beetles like to chill out - Nature Ramble...

Dung beetles eat feces. Everyone knows this. But here’s something you didn’t know: newly published research reveals that dung beetles can use spheres of rollable poop-meals as portable AC units — and they’re damn effective ones, at that.
The sands of the South African desert can exceed temperatures of 60 degrees Celsius, or 140 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s ridiculously hot. In fact, for a dung beetle like Scarabaeus lamarcki — which transports its meal by rolling it into a ball and pushing it across the scorching desert landscape with its hind legs — it’s too hot, as demonstrated in a study by functional zoologist Jochen Smolka in the latest issue of Current Biology. Using infrared thermography and behavioral experiments, Smolka and his colleagues have shown that dung beetles use their poo-ball as “a mobile thermal refuge” — a portable evaporative unit that cools the beetle slightly as it rolls, and dramatically when it clambers on top of it….Dung beatles like to chill out.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Conservationists push for reserve in Antarctica...

A high-level Antarctic conservation meeting has been launched to consider proposals on declaring swathes of the continent's surrounding Southern Ocean as "marine protected areas", in order to protect thousands of polar species.
The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, comprised of delegations from 24 countries and the European Union, officially started talks in the Australian city of Hobart on Tuesday.
The region is home to big populations of penguins, seals and whales found nowhere else in the world, and also has unique seafloor features that nurture early links in the food chain, according to environmental groups.
If the proposals are adopted, there would be fishing bans or restrictions for millions of square kilometres of ocean and ice.
Al Jazeera's Andrew Thomas reports from Hobart.
Al Jazeera   View video:


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Boaties protest proposed new salmon farms in the Marlborough Sounds at the top of NZ's South Island...

A King Salmon Farm..
 Is it  all about profits at the expence of the environment. What do you think readers?

Boaties protest new farms...


Opponents of new salmon farms in the Marlborough Sounds took to the waters themselves on Saturday.
PEACEFUL PROTEST: Opponents of new salmon farms in the Marlborough Sounds took to the waters themselves on Saturday.

Opponents of new salmon farms in the Marlborough Sounds deployed their own patrol vessels in a protest flotilla today.
Guardians of the Sounds chairman Peter Beech said people wanted to show their opposition to King Salmon’s application to build nine more fish farms in the Marlborough Sounds with a peaceful demonstration.
The group did not want protesters boarding existing New Zealand King Salmon farms or shouting abuse at farm workers.
About 40 boats gathered at the company’s original salmon farm at Ruakaka Bay around 11am before going across to proposed farm sites at Kaitapeha and Rua o Moko at the entrance to Tory Channel.
Organisers had originally wanted 100 boats but Mr Beech said he was happy with the turnout.
‘‘That’s a lot of boats to have milling around in one place,’’ he said. ‘‘We had a message to get across and we achieved that without any nonsense. There’s nothing to be gained by yelling and screaming.’’
Protesters had earlier assembled at the Waikawa Marae and marched to Waikawa Bay foreshore before taking to the water.
King Salmon has applied to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) for a private plan change and resource consents so it can farm fish at nine new sites in the Marlborough Sounds, including eight where aquaculture is prohibited by the Marlborough District Council.
An EPA board of inquiry has heard five weeks of submissions for and against the proposed sites in what is expected to be an eight-week hearing in Blenheim.
Picton man Mr Beech said today’s floating protest was for people who missed their chance to oppose the application during King Salmon’s original 20-day submission period.
A police boat accompanied the flotilla during the two-hour demonstration.
Picton station sergeant Kris Payne said police weren’t there to stop people voicing their concerns.
‘‘Credit to the protesters. They wanted to get their message across in a peaceful way and we were happy with that.’’
New Zealand King Salmon chief executive Grant Rosewarne said the 40-strong flotilla showed a lack of support for the protest.
The new farms would create 370 sustainable, high-value jobs in Marlborough, Mr Rosewarne said.
‘‘A lot of other areas would appreciate that same opportunity.’’

Acknowledgements:   The Marlborough Express    IMAGES:


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Spin cells generate 20 times more electricity per cell

V3Solar Spin Cell
V3Solar has developed a new way to convert the sun’s energy into electricity using traditional technology in a new way, and in so doing have discovered a way to get twenty times more electricity out of the same amount of solar cells. Their new device, called the Spin Cell, does away with the traditional flat panel and instead places the solar cells on a cone shaped frame which are then covered with energy concentrators. Once in operation, the whole works spins, making unnecessary the need for tracking hardware and software. What’s more, they actually look nice.
Up till now, virtually all solar arrays have been based on flat panels with solar cells mounted on them. The panels are mounted on poles which allow for tilting to track the sun as it passes overhead in the sky. This new approach turns the old idea completely on its head: Read more:



Monday, October 15, 2012

Are greenies sacrificing humpbacks for toothfish?


Sunday, October 14, 2012

The eyes have it - mystery eye belongs to a marlin, according to scientists...

Giant eye
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission...
EYE SPY: After a storm of speculation, scientists have settled on a marlin as the likely owner of the eye.

The mystery of the giant eye has been resolved, and claims it came from a colossal squid have been quashed.

Instead the monstrous eyeball was found by US scientists to belong to a Marlin.

The disembodied eye washed ashore on the beach in Florida and sparked a social media storm of speculation as to its origin.

According to marine biology website Deep Sea News the eye is most likely to belong to a marlin.
The deep water fish can grow up to five metres in length and weigh up to just over 800kg.
Biology professor Sonke Johnsen told Deep Sea News people often did not realise how big the eyes of swordfish got because they were hidden inside the head.
The presence of bones within the eye also ruled it out from belonging to a colossal squid.

Acknowledgements:   © Fairfax NZ News


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Nature ramble at Ecocrap...

Nature Ramble at Ecocrap...

This is not so much a Ramble as one of those things you see while out for a walk.
I have been AFK for a few days, I was not a well puppy (result of the walk).
While walking (actually a fast hobble with my walking stick) to work on Thursday, I saw one of these.

I had never seen one before. I am fully familiar with regular cockroaches, they are a fact of life here in Brazil.
This beastie was rather large as you can see by the comparison with the hand. No, that’s not my hand, no, I did not pick it up. I figured when they get that big, they could have teeth.
I was surprised when googling to discover what I had seen, that while this one doesn’t bite, it does hiss. It comes from a line of Madagascan hissing cockroaches.
I’ll tell you one thing, if the beastie had turned on me and ‘hissed’, I would have turned tail.


Friday, October 5, 2012

Report: Electric car has twice the global waring potential...

If the electricity suppling this car was made from a coal power plant, it could be contributing to more pollution in the atmosphere than a traditionally fueled vehicle. (Photo: Wikimedia)
TheBlaze has reported on the not so green side of electric cars before — those being charged with electricity from coal-fired power plants contribute more pollution than their gasoline-fueled counterparts. Now, a report of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology takes a look at the manufacturing of electric vehicles and found that’s not so great for the environment either.
“Although EVs are an important technological breakthrough with substantial potential environmental benefits, these cannot be harnessed everywhere and in every condition,” the study authors write. “Our results clearly indicate that it is counterproductive to promote EVs in areas where electricity is primarily produced from lignite, coal, or even heavy oil combustion.”
Published in the Journal of Industrial Ecology, the researchers found the production of electric vehicles is “more environmentally intensive” than those with an internal combustion engine. Producing the electric powertrains and traction batteries are among the factors that “add significantly to the environmental impacts” of production.
The study also took a look at the environmental impact of electric vehicles compared to traditional cars when it comes to actually taking them on the road. Like the study we reported on earlier this year, EVs with electricity supplied by coal were found to have more of a “global warming potential” — increasing it by a factor of 17 to 27 percent — compared to traditional cars. EVs using electricity supplied by the “average” European source reduced global warming potential by 20 to 24 percent though.