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globalbriefs


Suffocating Earth Accelerating Amazon Deforestation


After more than six years of steady decline, the deforestation rate in the Brazilian Ama- zon, which serves as vital lungs for the planet, more than doubled in just six months this year, according to the nonprofit research institute Imazon. Observers blame the increase in part on Brazil’s weakened Forest Code, established to protect the rainforest by limiting how much land can be cleared and developed. Senior researcher Paulo Barreto explains, “Imazon uses satellite images to evaluate the deforesta- tion monthly.”


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In May 2012, the Brazilian Congress changed the Legal Reserve rule that requires landowners to keep 80 percent of their property forested by eliminating manda- tory fines as long as the land is reforested. But enforcement is difficult and the land is often used for growing cash crops such as soybeans or raising cattle. New guidelines also allow clear-cutting closer to riverbanks, and environ- mentalists are alarmed about threats to biodiversity. Additionally, 60 new dams are on the government’s agenda.


Source: Living on Earth (loe.org)


Fossil-Fuel Freedom New York State Could Achieve It by 2050


A new study lays out how New York State’s entire demand for end-use power could be provided by wind (50 percent), solar (38 percent) and geothermal (5 per- cent), plus wave and tidal energy sources. This ambitious goal could be achieved by 2050, when all conventional fossil fuel generation would be completely phased out. The plan also generates a large net increase in jobs.


Mark Jacobson, a co-author


of the study and professor of civil and environmental engineering at California’s Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, analyzes how energy technolo- gies impact the atmosphere and how society can transition rapidly to clean and renewable energy sources if we integrate production and energy use in a systems perspective.


Robert Howarth, Ph.D., the senior co-author and a professor of ecology and environmental biology at Cornell University, in New York, has been tackling climate change and its consequences since the 1970s. He says, “Many pundits tell us that solar, wind, etc., are great conceptually, but that it will take many decades to start to make these technologies economically feasible.” However, “New York is one of the larger economies in the world, and New York City is the most energy- efficient city in the U.S.”


14 Hudson County NAHudson.com


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