‘Humans driving extinction faster than species can evolve, say experts’

For the first time since the dinosaurs disappeared, humans are driving animals and plants to extinction faster than new species can evolve, one of the world’s experts on biodiversity has warned.

Conservation experts have already signalled that the world is in the grip of the “sixth great extinction” of species, driven by the destruction of natural habitats, hunting, the spread of alien predators and disease, and climate change.

However until recently it has been hoped that the rate at which new species were evolving could keep pace with the loss of diversity of life. Continue reading

China and India agree to endorse Copenhagen Accord

China and India agreed Tuesday to endorse the non-binding Copenhagen Accord, which calls for self-imposed limits on greenhouse gas emissions. Some 100 countries have already agreed to be associated with the non-binding accord, which arose from the UN Climate Change Conference held in Copenhagen in December. China and India, nations that are among the world’s largest and most quickly growing producers of greenhouse gas emissions, were the last major players to sign on to the agreement. Their delay caused some concern about the agreement’s credibility and potential future impact. Continue reading

“The IPCC has become discredited because of systemic failings, not trivial flaws that sophistry may brush aside”

With increasing global fervor around climate change and its impacts on our daily lives and our contribution towards these impacts, the IPCC projections and information seem to have come under close scrutiny. Many have people have questioned the IPCC reports on the grounds that there seems to be little consensus on the results; others question the ‘science’ on which these findings are based; while others say that the science is overrated because what we are experiencing is inherent change and that we will (as we have always done) adapt to current and future change. Continue reading

Report and reflections on the presentation of The UN Habitat Global Report 2009: Planning sustainable cities: Global report on human settlements.

The presentation was made by Vanessa Watson, which is one of the lead authors in the book.
The background for the report is that there is a re-emerging focus on urban planning. Since the 1980, planning had negative connotations much due to the failures of the former planning approach and the neo-liberal trends favoring marked solutions. However, since the neo-liberal approaches also have appeared unsuccessful regarding city developments, there is now a widespread recognition that neither marked nor communities can solve the city development problems. Moreover, there have been dramatic changes in the 21 century city developments; pressures like rapid urbanization and climate change now makes the situations even more difficult for planners. Therefore, planning has re-emerged as urban development approach, but with a different approach. The overall message in the UN habitat report reflects this approach. Continue reading

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