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Category Archives: Environmental Law

Great Barrier Reef valued at $56B by Deloitte economists

Great Barrier Reef Foundation – “A new Deloitte Access Economics report has calculated the total asset value of the Great Barrier Reef to be $56 billion, assessing the World Heritage site’s economic, social and iconic brand value together in one study for the first time. In the report commissioned by the Great Barrier Reef Foundation with support from National Australia Bank and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Deloitte Access Economics analysed the Reef’s:

  • Economic, social, and iconic value;
  • Contribution to the economy through industry value added and employment;
  • Brand value to Australia and the international community; and
  • Significance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Traditional Owners.

Great Barrier Reef Foundation Director Steve Sargent said: “Like the Great Barrier Reef itself, the numbers revealed in the report are big and highlight just how significant the Reef’s contribution to Australia’s economy is:

  • $56 billion value as an economic, social, and iconic natural asset;
  •  $6.4 billion economic value added to the Australian economy in 2015-16;
  •  $3.9 billion in economic value added to Queensland’s economy in 2015-16;
  • $2.9 billion economic value added to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP) region in 2015-16; and
  • 64,000 jobs nationally linked to the Reef, including 33,000 in Queensland.”

“At $29 billion, tourism is the biggest contributor to the Reef’s $56 billion value, followed by $23.8 billion from indirect or non-use value, i.e. those who haven’t yet visited the Reef but value knowing it exists, and its value to recreational users ($3.2 billion) makes up the balance,” Mr Sargent said. “As the largest living structure on Earth and one of the world’s most complex and diverse natural ecosystems, the Great Barrier Reef is justifiably considered priceless and irreplaceable.”

Plastic emissions from world’s rivers add 5,000 metric tons of plastic waste every day to oceans

River plastic emissions to the world’s oceans, Laurent C. M. Lebreton, Joost van der Zwet, Jan-Willem Damsteeg, Boyan Slat, Anthony Andrady & Julia Reisser. Nature Communications 8, Article number: 15611 (2017). doi:10.1038/ncomms15611. Received: 27 October 2016. Accepted: 11 April 2017. Published online: 07 June 2017. “Plastics in the marine environment have become a major concern… Continue Reading

California again tops list of states with worst air pollution

American Lung Association – State of the Air 2017 – “For 18 years, the American Lung Association has analyzed data from official air quality monitors to compile the “State of the Air” report. The more you learn about the air you breathe, the more you can protect your health and take steps to make our… Continue Reading

Rise in ocean temperatures on northern east coast impacting ecology and economy

Yale Environment 360: Feeling the Heat: How Fish Are Migrating from Warming Waters – “Steadily rising ocean temperatures are forcing fish to abandon their historic territories and move to cooler waters. The result is that fishermen’s livelihoods are being disrupted, as fisheries regulators scramble to incorporate climate change into their planning…Over the last decade, the… Continue Reading

Gigantic increase in fracking related earthquakes spikes insurance costs

GOOD: “…According to the U.S. Geological Survey, prior to 2009, when oil and gas fracking in Oklahoma and neighboring states really started to boom, Oklahoma experienced roughly two earthquakes a year. Now, the state sees as many as two or three earthquakes each day, leaping from an annual average of 99 between 2009-2013 to 585 in 2014. By 2015, the… Continue Reading

CRS – President Trump’s Withdrawal from the Paris Agreement Raises Legal Question

President Trump’s Withdrawal from the Paris Agreement Raises Legal Questions, CRS Legal Sidebar, June 9, 2017. [via FAS] “On June 1, President Trump announced his long-anticipated decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement—an international agreement intended to reduce the effects of climate change by maintaining global temperatures “well below 2°C above pre-industrial… Continue Reading

How to Find Deleted Public Health Assessments for Contaminated Sites

MemoryHole2: “How to Find Deleted Public Health Assessments for Contaminated Sites, June 5, 2017  – Click here to access the missing reports from prior to October 2004 UPDATE [June 8, 2017]: There’s a second source for these documents. Most of them exist in PDF format in the Commerce Department’s National Technical Information Service website. (These… Continue Reading

History of Gardens in America on Exhibit at the Smithsonian

New York Times – “The United States has a rich yet relatively unknown tradition of beautiful gardens, said Cindy Brown, the education and collections manager at the Smithsonian Gardens in “Go to the Washington, D.C. Travel Guide.” href=”http://travel.nytimes.com/travel/guides/north-america/united-states/washington-dc/overview.html?inline=nyt-geo”>Washington. “Gardens in this country date back to the 17th century and continue to be an attraction today,”… Continue Reading

Google’s Environmental Report

Urs Hölzle, Senior Vice President of Technical Infrastructure, Google: “The following data [72 page report/PDF] summarize key highlights of our environmental initiatives discussed in our environmental report published in December 2016. They provide a snapshot of our performance and together demonstrate how we’re strengthening our business by reducing the environmental impact of our operations and… Continue Reading

Google is Mapping the invisible: Street View cars add air pollution sensors

Google Environment: “There are 1.3 million miles of natural gas distribution pipelines in the U.S. These pipelines exist pretty much everywhere that people do, and when they leak, the escaping methane — the main ingredient in natural gas — is a potent greenhouse gas, with 84 times the short-term warming effect of carbon dioxide. These… Continue Reading

Atlas of the Human Planet 2017: Global Exposure to Natural Hazards

EU Science Hub – “The Atlas of the Human Planet 2017. Global Exposure to Natural Hazards summarizes the global multi-temporal analysis of exposure to six major natural hazards: earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, floods, tropical cyclone winds, and sea level surge. The exposure focuses on human settlements assessed through two variables: the global built-up and the global… Continue Reading

2016 Tree Report Card for DC

“We’re excited to announce the 2016 Tree Report Card is released! The Tree Report Card is where we analyze the state of D.C.’s urban forest and grade its progress towards our 40 percent tree canopy goal. And boy oh boy has it been a banner year for trees – we are extremely proud to announce… Continue Reading