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Plea to overcome rifts during climate talks as heat busts record

Written By kom nampultig on Selasa, 21 Oktober 2014 | 22.33

PARIS: Fresh UN climate talks opened in Bonn on Monday with a plea for nations to overcome rifts as scientists reported record global temperatures for a month of September.

In an appeal to negotiators at the six-day meeting, UN climate chief Christiana Figueres said renewed commitments made at a world summit on September 23 to curb climate change should prompt negotiators to "build bridges."

Their discussions must lay the foundations for the annual ministerial-level talks to be held in Lima in December, she said.

The Peru meeting, in turn, must pave the way to a pact in Paris in December 2015 that for the first time will bring 195 nations, rich and poor alike, into the same arena of commitment.

"This week is a key opportunity to reach out to your counterparts, build bridges and find a path forward," said Figueres.

The New York summit called by UN chief Ban Ki-moon had "shifted the ground on what is possible in climate change," she argued.

"Collectively, your heads of state have reassured the world that we will address climate change. Today... it is up to you to chart the path of that solution."

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), meanwhile, said last month was the hottest September since reliable records of global average temperatures began in 1880.

NOAA reported a record for September of 15.72 degrees Celsius (60.3 degrees Fahrenheit), 0.72 C above the 20th-century average.

"With the exception of February, every month to date in 2014 has been among its four warmest on record, with May, June, August and September all record warm," NOAA said.

Negotiators in Bonn face long-standing differences over sharing curbs on greenhouse gases, the source of warming.

These cuts are meant to limit average global warming to no more than 2 C over pre-industrial levels and save the planet from potentially catastrophic climate damage.

Figueres stressed the new climate pact, due to enter into force from 2020, "must irreversibly bend the curb of emissions", which have continued rising.

But many technicalities have to be resolved, including the very legal nature of the pact and how it will be monitored and enforced.

The talks are the first chance for negotiators to discuss a rough 22-page outline for the deal that has been drawn up by working group leaders and distributed for scrutiny in July.

The meeting must also start narrowing down what data countries will be required to provide when they submit their pledges for emissions curbs in the first quarter of next year.

This topic will likely see negotiators return to a sore point, whether rich countries should have tougher targets because of their longer history of burning fossil fuels.

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Heavy rain will reduce man-animal conflict in TN, forest officials say

J Arockiaraj, TNN | Oct 20, 2014, 05.57PM IST

There were several incidents of wild animals straying into agricultural fields in Tamil Nadu in the last three years due poor monsoon.

Page 1 of 4

MADURAI: Forest officials in Tamil Nadu are upbeat about the continuing heavy rain in the state as it will support wildlife and reduce man-animal conflict.

A drought-like condition had been prevailing in several in forest areas in the state in the last three years. There were several incidents of wild animals like Indian gaurs, spotted deer and elephants straying into agricultural fields. Farmers used to raise the issue with district administrations.

Forest officials said the rain would help revive the green cover in the forests. "We have constructed a lot of check dams and percolation ponds in last three years but they were not filled. These rains are very useful to improve water sources in the forest areas and help wild animals," said a senior official at the Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary in Srivilliputhur.

Further, the rains are beneficial to carry out tree planting drives the department undertakes. Under Tamil Nadu Biodiversity and Greening Project (TNBGP) and Massive Tree Plantation drive, every division is assigned to plant almost two lakh trees this year.

"There is adequate moisture in the air and the earth is wet. Saplings can take root easily. We have already planted 40,000 saplings in the forests and empty lands and these rains are going to be very helpful," said Nihar Ranjan, divisional forest officer, Madurai.

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After Jamni tigress, male Gabbar radio-collared in Tadoba

Written By kom nampultig on Senin, 20 Oktober 2014 | 22.33

Nagpur: Two days after scientists from the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun, radio-collared a tigress at Jamni in Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) at Chandrapur on Saturday, a male tiger 'Gabbar' was also tagged with a radio-collar on Sunday.

On Friday, WII experts Dr Parag Nigam and Dr Bilal Habib had tranquillized the Jamni tigress to fit a radio-collar. Similar operation was carried out on Sunday for a male tiger in the presence of TATR field director and chief conservator of forests (CCF) GP Garad and other park officials.

This is the first experiment in the state to study tigers by placing satellite radio collars. Earlier, in November 2012, a tigress named Kala from Tass forest in Bhiwapur was radio-collared after rescue and released in the wild. "However, for study purpose, collaring tigers in Tadoba is being done for the first time," said VK Sinha, APCCF for ecotourism & wildlife administration.

"The WII scientists are monitoring the signals. Both the carnivores have recovered well and are behaving normally. The collars are satellite based and will give signals about their behaviour and movement," said Garad.

The radio collaring of tigers is part of a research titled 'Long-term monitoring of tigers, co-predators and prey species in TATR and adjoining landscapes'. Maharashtra government had last year cleared the Rs1.64 crore project to be implemented by WII on 70:30 cost-sharing basis between state government and National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), a statutory body under the ministry of environment, forest and climate change.

"The project is aimed at studying population density apart from abundance and demographic structure of tigers. The study is being conducted in two phases and also includes capacity building of local staff for managing man-animal conflict," Sinha said.

TATR landscape is one of the most important landscapes in Central India and is crucial for long-term conservation of tigers in the region. The area has witnessed highest number of conflict cases in the recent past. The study would investigate dynamics of tigers, co-predators and their prey.

Garad said in all five tigers will be radio-collared. In the second phase, three more tigers will be collared in March-April 2015. After extensive survey and selection of target animals in core area of the reserve during last few days, the exercise was held in the morning hours.

Pench firing accused caught

Pench tiger reserve forest officials on Sunday arrested main accused Anantrao Kumre, who had shot at STPF guard Satish Shendre on October 13 while he was a patrolling duty. On Saturday, the officials had arrested Anantrao's son Rajkumar from his house at Amdi in adjoining West Pench on MP border. The officials have seized monitor lizard skin from the main accused. On Saturday, they had seized eight trophies, pangolin scales, and an old skin of chinkara.

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Heavy rain will reduce man-animal conflict in Tamil Nadu, forest officials say

MADURAI: Forest officials in Tamil Nadu are upbeat about the continuing heavy rain in the state as it will support wildlife and reduce man-animal conflict.

A drought-like condition had been prevailing in several in forest areas in the state in the last three years. There were several incidents of wild animals like Indian gaurs, spotted deer and elephants straying into agricultural fields. Farmers used to raise the issue with district administrations.

Forest officials said the rain would help revive the green cover in the forests. "We have constructed a lot of check dams and percolation ponds in last three years but they were not filled. These rains are very useful to improve water sources in the forest areas and help wild animals," said a senior official at the Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary in Srivilliputhur.

Further, the rains are beneficial to carry out tree planting drives the department undertakes. Under Tamil Nadu Biodiversity and Greening Project (TNBGP) and Massive Tree Plantation drive, every division is assigned to plant almost two lakh trees this year.

"There is adequate moisture in the air and the earth is wet. Saplings can take root easily. We have already planted 40,000 saplings in the forests and empty lands and these rains are going to be very helpful," said Nihar Ranjan, divisional forest officer, Madurai.

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Endangered northern white rhino dies in Africa

Written By kom nampultig on Minggu, 19 Oktober 2014 | 22.33

PRAGUE: A Czech zoo says a 34-year-old northern white rhinoceros has died in Kenya, further reducing the world's dwindling population of the critically endangered animal.

Suni was born at the zoo in Dvur Kralove in June 1980. The zoo says Suni was found dead Friday in the Ol Pejeta animal sanctuary. The cause of death wasn't immediately clear, but the zoo ruled out he was killed by poachers.

He was one of the four northern white rhinos that the Czech zoo moved to Africa in December 2009 in an attempt to save the species from extinction. The zoo hoped it could be easier for them to breed there than in captivity.

The zoo said today that Suni was one of seven northern white rhinos left.

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Two jumbos electrocuted in North Bengal

SILIGURI: Within a day of recovery of a rhino carcass at Gorumara National Park, two adult jumbos — a tusker and a female — were electrocuted in a north Bengal forest on Saturday.

At around 3.30 am on Saturday, a patrolling team of foresters found bodies of two elephants on the paddy field at Rakamjot Bustee near Naxalbari's Kolabari forest, some five kilometres from the Indo-Nepal border and 30 kilometres from Siliguri.

A herd of elephants was seen roaming around the Panighatta beat area. Locals said they had damaged crop fields to feed upon the harvested crops. "In order to stop that, some villagers had tapped power and laid the wire open in the field that led to the electrocution of the elephants," said a source.

Buddhi Rajshiva, acting DFO of Kurseong division, rushed to the spot. After primary investigation, the forest department lodged an FIR against two villagers with the Naxalbari PS. However, both the villagers are absconding.

"While one of the elephants was electrocuted after its trunk entangled in the wires, the other one died after its tail mired in the wires. This is very unfortunate and should not have happened," said Rajshiva.

Tapping of electricity is an old practice in the forest villages. Villagers do that in order to save their houses and paddy fields from elephants. They tap power and connect it to the fences of their houses and lay open wires on their fields. Whenever an elephant wants to break into that fence, it dies.

Over the past few years, the practice has also gained popularity among villagers in the Bamandanga area of Nepal's Kakarvitta, a place which is often raided by elephants that cross over the Mechi river on the Indo-Nepal border and enter that village. Several elephants had died in Bamandanga over the past couple of years and seven others were shot dead.

In Bengal, as many as 18 jumbos died of electrocution in the Dooars and Terai regions over the past decade.

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India-born scientist Rajaram awarded World Food Prize

Written By kom nampultig on Sabtu, 18 Oktober 2014 | 22.33

WASHINGTON: India-born Mexican scientist Sanjaya Rajaram has been presented with the prestigious World Food Prize 2014 for his agricultural research that led to a remarkable increase in world wheat production building on the successes of the Green Revolution.

"It is a collective achievement, rather than that of a single person," Rajaram told the audience accepting the prestigious award at the Iowa State University, Des Moines, in the US state of Iowa.

The award "honours the innovative spirit of farmers", he said adding that "without their contributions, my research wouldn't have been possible".

By crossing winter and spring wheat varieties — which were distinct gene pools that had been isolated from one another for hundreds of years — he created wheat varieties that are disease- and stress-resistant and adaptable to diverse geographical regions and climates.

In 2007, Norman Borlaug called Rajaram "the greatest present-day wheat scientist in the world". Borlaug is known as the father of the Green Revolution.

Born in a small village in India, Rajaram worked to be the top in his class as he moved through school, and dedicated his life to making direct improvements for farmers and all people who depend on agriculture.

Now a citizen of Mexico, Rajaram conducted the majority of his research in Mexico at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT).

His work there led to a prodigious increase in world wheat production - by more than 200 million tons during the 25-year-period known as the "golden years of wheat" - building on the successes of the Green Revolution.

Rajaram worked side by side with Borlaug at CIMMYT before succeeding him as head of the wheat breeding programme in 1972.

He implemented a major expansion of Borlaug's approach, advancing his mentor's work during the 'golden years' of wheat breeding and production.

Under Rajaram's leadership, the centre developed 480 wheat varieties released in 51 countries and were widely adopted by small- and large-scale farmers alike.

At a news conference, Rajaram said he wholeheartedly supports genetically modified crops.

But the World Food Prize laureate said caution is still needed in their adoption, the local Des Moines Register newspaper reported.

"I'm very pro-, in the sense that I see a tremendous yield stability that GM (genetic modification) can bring to various crops," Rajaram was quoted as saying.

"However, how to handle that. What are the effects on the environment? We need to study those things very carefully," Rajaram said.

"Like any technology, we have to be very cautious in promoting it," he added.

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Want to put environment ministry on autopilot: Javadekar

NEW DELHI: Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar said Friday that he wanted to put the environment ministry in "autopilot" with transparent, policy-based decision making and acknowledged that the previous UPA government had hampered growth by not clearing key environmental decisions.

"I want to put the environment ministry in autopilot, which is a regulatory ministry in a way. A transparent, predictable, policy-based decision making ministry, which is what I am heading to," said Javadekar during a talk at the Foreign Correspondents Club here.

To a question whether he thought the previous United Progressive Alliance government had not taken key environment clearance decisions which hampered growth, he said "Unfortunately, yes."

He said former prime minister Manmohan Singh had shortlisted 17 important projects for clearance. "The projects were pending for months," he said, adding that he had conveyed to Singh when he met him at a recent function that he has given clearance to the 17 projects.

Javadekar also said that on climate change discussions the Narendra Modi government has been "presenting ourselves as a proactive, positive nation, not naysayers but yes sayers".

He said that at the Major Economies Forum in Paris in July, he had conveyed that "we don't regard isolation as a policy, and we don't regard any isolation as a grand isolation, but I am confident with my actions and arguments I can convince you, and if I am not convincing you, I am ready to get convinced. We are showing the difference, putting new arguments on the table," he added.

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Argentine biologist strives to save camelid species

Written By kom nampultig on Jumat, 17 Oktober 2014 | 22.33

IANS | Oct 16, 2014, 01.42PM IST

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BUENOS AIRES: An Argentine biologist has combined respect for nature and traditions with scientific rigour in her efforts to save the "emblematic" vicuna, a species of great value for the inhabitants of alpine areas of the Andes mountains.

Bibiana Vila has devoted 25 years of her life to preserve and defend the camelid species, which lives at an altitude of 12,460 feet above sea level and is under threat from poachers who covet its valuable wool.

"The vicuna is highly valuable, not just for the market but for its ecosystem because it's the largest animal of the Puna grassland, an emblematic species because if it can be preserved then many other species can be saved...such as some toads," the biologist told Spanish news agency Efe.

To capture individual vicunas for research purposes, Vila, director of the VICAM (Vicunas, Camelids and Environment) research group, used a pre-Columbian ritual known as the "chaku", which she carries out with members of her team.

"It involves making a 'chayada', or a hole in the ground, to put food, coca leaves, cigarettes and alcohol inside, so (local indigenous communities) deliver the vicunas to us for a short while," said Vila, who Wednesday received the UN Midori Prize in Pyeongchang city in recognition of her work.

Once captured, the vicunas are taken to a cooperative located in Jujuy province, where blood samples will be taken and an ID collar is placed around their necks before they are sheared and returned to their natural habitat.

The samples will be used for research, but the wool benefits the local Santa Catalina farm and ranching cooperative, which works closely with Vila's team.

"This recognition of many years of work preserving a species of the Altiplano that yields its fiber in exchange for its conservation is very gratifying," the biologist said.

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UP sugar mill polluting Ganga fined Rs 5 crore

NEW DELHI: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has cracked the whip on industries that have been polluting river Ganga. It has imposed a Rs 5 crore fine on Simbhaoli sugar mill and distillery unit and a fine of Rs 25 lakh on Gopalji dairy in Ghaziabad. It was hearing an appeal that alleged that the industries were discharging toxic effluents in Phuldehra drain which falls into Ganga through the Syana canal.

The application had also alleged that toxic wastes from industries were affecting Gangetic dolphins, turtles and other riparian species.

An expert member of the tribunal visited the site in March and pointed various shortfalls in the functioning of these units and concluded that they were a source of serious pollution.

"There is ample documentary evidence in the form of affidavits, inspection reports and analysis reports to show that Simbhaoli Mills is not only been a source of continuous pollution particularly surface and ground water but also failed to take precautions of its own accord. Thus, it has endorsed itself to incurring a liability for relief and compensation for causing damage and for restitution of environment in the concerned areas," the order said.

Toxic industrial wastes are said to be affecting the Gangetic marine life

"There can hardly be any dispute that it is a polluting unit. It is also beyond controversy that this unit has operated without consent of the Boards from 1974 till the year 1991, thereafter, it committed default in compliance of the conditions of the consent right up to the year 2000. Even thereafter, it did not strictly comply with the conditions and directions issued by the respective Boards. This unit is a direct source of polluting River Ganga," the bench observed.

The Tribunal has fixed a compensation of Rs 5 crores on Simbhaoli Mills to be deposited with Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) and this amount shall be use for removal of sludge and all pollutants and preventing ground water pollution.

The bench had earlier directed UPPCB as well as Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to inspect around 1000 industries to check if they polluting the Ganga. The polluter pay principle that was imposed on two industries on Thursday may be imposed on all other industries in future.

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