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    Page Updated:
    March 27, 2020


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    Poaching and Habitat Loss
    Moves Elephant Closer to Extinction
    --ZME Science
    Climate Change
    March 26, 2021
    The African forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis) is now listed as Critically Endangered and the African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana) as Endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. They’re more in danger than they have ever been, and it’s mostly due to habitat reduction and ivory trade.
    They are the world’s largest land animals, measuring up to 7.5 meters long and weighing over six tons. The emblematic savannah elephant roams grassy plants and woodlands, while the forest elephant lives in the equatorial forest of central and western Africa. Their trunk is used for communication and handling objects, including food. They’re also team players — not just among their own species, but across the entire ecosystem.
    “They play key roles in ecosystems, economies, and in our collective imagination all over the world. The new IUCN Red List assessments underline the persistent pressures faced by these iconic animals,” Bruno Oberle, IUCN Director-General, said in a statement. “We must urgently put an end to poaching and ensure that sufficient suitable habitat is conserved.”
    Before the new update, African elephants were treated as a single species, listed as Vulnerable by IUCN. This is the first time the two species have been assessed separately for the Red List – the result of a consensus that emerged among experts following new research into the genetics of the elephant populations.
    Two-thirds of Tropical Rainforest
    Destroyed or Degraded Globally
    March 8, 2021
    Humans have degraded or destroyed roughly two-thirds of the world’s original tropical rainforest cover, new data reveals – raising alarm that a key natural buffer against climate change is quickly vanishing.
    The forest loss is also a major contributor of climate-warming emissions, with the dense tropical forest vegetation representing the largest living reservoir of carbon.
    Logging and land conversion, mainly for agriculture, have wiped out 34% of the world’s original old-growth tropical rainforests, and degraded another 30%, leaving them more vulnerable to fire and future destruction, according to an analysis by the non-profit Rainforest Foundation Norway.
    More than half of the destruction since 2002 has been in South America’s Amazon and bordering rainforests.
    As more rainforest is destroyed, there is more potential for climate change, which in turn makes it more difficult for remaining forests to survive, said the report’s author Anders Krogh, a tropical forest researcher.
    “It’s a terrifying cycle,” Krogh said. The total lost between just 2002 and 2019 was larger than the area of France, he found.
    For a graphic on tropical rainforest destruction, click here:
    Mexico: Once a Climate Leader
    – Now it's Betting Big on Coal
    -The Guardian
    February 15, 2021
    The men on the midnight shift smoked cigarettes and cracked jokes in the glow of their helmet lights as they prepared to go underground. They were loading safety equipment and coils of pipe on to wheelbarrows, in readiness for a second shift due to start working later that week.
    “We’re reactivating the industry,” said Arturo Rivera Wong, who had just taken on 40 more workers at the mine he owns in the scrublands of the border state of Coahuila.
    “Four furnaces at the big thermoelectric plant are going to be reactivated,” he explained. “This is going to kickstart coal sales.”
    As the climate crisis worsens and clean energy prices plunge, governments around the world have been weaning their economies of coal and other fossil fuels.
    Mexico is moving in the opposite direction.
    President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, popularly known as Amlo, has unveiled plans to buy nearly 2m tons of thermal coal from small producers like Rivera. He also plans to reactivate a pair of coal-fired plants on the Texas border, which were being wound down as natural gas and renewables took a more prominent role in Mexico’s energy mix.
    Not only is López Obradorbetting big on fossil fuels, he is also curtailing clean energy.
    Rooftop Ssolar Booms in Hawaii as Utility Launches ‘Quick Connect’
    --Renewable Energy World
    February 1, 2021
    Hawaiian Electric announced that rooftop solar installations increased by 55% in 2020 despite the global pandemic. In 2020, 5,965 new rooftop solar systems were installed across O?ahu, Hawai?i Island and Maui County, up from the 3,840 systems in 2019. Of the new systems, 4,624, or 78%, include battery storage, it said.
    Hawai‘i leads the nation in per capita use of rooftop solar, with over 20 percent of customers, including 36 percent of single-family homes on O‘ahu, with solar systems connected to island grids. Going forward, some utility customers in Hawaii may benefit from a quicker installation and approval process, which was just instituted by Hawaiian Electric.
    Quick Connect is a new Hawaiian Electric program that will accelerate the process for turning on new systems. The program aims to support customers and Hawaii’s solar industry during the COVID-19 economic downturn. For the next 12 months, customers on O‘ahu, Maui and Hawai‘i islands installing new systems on circuits where the new program is available will not need the standard approvals before activating their systems.
    An approval process that typically takes several weeks or months for each step to be completed can now be handled after the system is built and turned on, substantially reducing the wait for many new solar customers. If successful, Quick Connect may be extended beyond one year.

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