China Bans Wildlife Markets Temporarily in Response to Coronavirus Outbreak
China banned its trade in wild animals Sunday until the new coronavirus, which was linked to a market in Wuhan where wildlife was sold, is eradicated. Now, conservationists are calling on the country to make the ban permanent.
"Surely it's time for an advanced country like China to reassess the viability of a tiny industry that risks global pandemic, national image, animal cruelty and conservation concerns," WildAid founder Peter Knights told The Washington Post.
The move comes 17 years after severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) killed more than 750 people in China and around the world. That disease is believed to have spread to humans from masked palm civets and was linked to a market in China's Guangdong province. China temporarily cracked down on the wildlife trade in the immediate aftermath, but then allowed it to flourish again.
The new coronavirus has been traced to the Wuhan Huanan Seafood Wholesale market. While the 1,000-stall market, which has been shuttered since Jan. 1, mostly sold seafood, wild animals were also on offer. One vendor, Dazhong Livestock and Game, offered a menu of more than 100 wild animals including ostriches, baby deer, baby crocodiles, wolves and hedgehogs, The Wall Street Journal reported.
In the wake of the latest outbreak, which has so far sickened more than 2,700 people and killed at least 80, China also faced rare internal public calls to ban the sale of wild meat.
"If China doesn't take action on this now, I fear this is just going to happen again," Zhou Jinfeng, head of the nongovernmental China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation, told The Wall Street Journal.
A group of 19 researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Wuhan Institute of Virology and top universities in the country also called on the government to crack down on the wildlife markets last week, The Independent reported.
Nineteen academicians and scholars jointly have called for the eradication of illegal consumption and trading of wi… https://t.co/1oH2SH8q4I— WildAid (@WildAid)1580063941.0
Scientists don't yet know exactly how the coronavirus spread to humans, but it is similar to a virus found in bats, and experts think it passed from the bats to another animal, The Wall Street Journal explained. SARS also originally came from bats before passing to civets.
"This is absolutely déjà vu all over again from SARS," EcoHealth Alliance President Peter Daszak told The Wall Street Journal.
The wildlife trade doesn't just harm humans. It also threatens endangered species with extinction, according to The Independent. And China isn't the only country where it takes place.
The Wildlife Conservation Society called for an end to wildlife markets everywhere.
"If these markets persist, and human consumption of illegal and unregulated wildlife persists, then the public will continue to face heightened risks from emerging new viruses, potentially more lethal and the source of future pandemic spread," the executive director of the group's health program Christian Walzer told The Independent. "These are perfect laboratories for creating opportunities for these viruses to emerge."
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A "trash tsunami" has washed ashore on the beaches of Honduras, endangering both wildlife and the local economy.
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By Harry Kretchmer
By 2030, almost a third of all the energy consumed in the European Union must come from renewable sources, according to binding targets agreed in 2018. Sweden is helping lead the way.
Sweden is a world leader in renewable energy consumption. Swedish Institute/World Bank
Naturally Warm<p>54% of Sweden's power comes from renewables, and is helped by its geography. With plenty of moving water and 63% forest cover, it's no surprise the <a href="https://sweden.se/nature/energy-use-in-sweden/#" target="_blank">two largest renewable power sources</a> are hydropower and biomass. And that biomass is helping support a local energy boom.</p><p>Heating is a key use of energy in a cold country like Sweden. In recent decades, as fuel oil taxes have increased, the country's power companies have turned to renewables, like biomass, to fuel local 'district heating' plants.</p><p>In Sweden these trace their <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank">origins back to 1948</a>, when a power station's excess heat was first used to heat nearby buildings: steam is <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/district-heating-system" target="_blank">forced along a network of pipes</a> to wherever it's needed. Today, there are around 500 district heating systems across the country, from major cities to small villages, providing heat to homes and businesses.</p><p>District heating used to be fueled mainly from the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140" target="_blank">by-products of power plants</a>, waste-to-energy plants and industrial processes. These days, however, Sweden is bringing more renewable sources into the mix. And as a result of competition, this localized form of power is now the country's<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> home-heating market leader.</a></p>
Sweden is using smart grids to turn buildings into energy producers. Huang et al/Elsevier
Energy ‘Prosumers’<p>But Sweden doesn't stop at village-level heating solutions. Its new breed of energy-generation takes hyper-local to the next level.</p><p>One example is in the city of Ludivika where 1970s flats <a href="https://www.buildup.eu/sites/default/files/content/transforming-a-residential-building-cluster-into-electricity-prosumers-in-sweden.pdf" target="_blank">have recently been retrofitted with the latest smart energy technology</a>.</p><p>48 family apartments spread across 3 buildings have been given photovoltaic solar panels, thermal energy storage and heat pump systems. A micro energy grid connects it all, and helps charge electric cars overnight.</p><p>The result is a cluster of 'prosumer' buildings, producing rather than consuming enough power for 77% of residents' needs. With <a href="http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1232060/FULLTEXT01.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">high levels of smart meter usage</a>, it's a model that looks set to spread across Sweden.</p>
<div id="d7bf9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8757b138d5570bec9d6aad18074a429a"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1273556364263071744" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Read more about Western Harbour and book a visit: https://t.co/ujSmVs9rNK 🏡🌳🌊 https://t.co/C5PuPziqIM</div> — Smart City Sweden (@Smart City Sweden)<a href="https://twitter.com/SmartCitySweden/statuses/1273556364263071744">1592474473.0</a></blockquote></div>
Scaling Up<p>A recent development by E.ON in Hyllie, a district on the outskirts of Malmö, southern Sweden, <a href="https://www.eonenergy.com/blog/2019/February/sweden-smart-city" target="_blank">has scaled up the smart grid principle</a>. Energy generation comes from local wind, solar, biomass and waste sources.</p><p>Smart grids then balance the power, react to the weather, deploying extra power when it's colder or putting excess into battery storage when it's warm. The system is not only more efficient, but bills have fallen.</p><p>Smart energy developments like those in Hyllie, Ludivika, and renewable-driven district heating, offer a radical alternative to the centralized energy systems many countries rely on today.</p><p>The EU's leaders have a challenge: how to generate 32% of energy from renewables by 2030. Sweden offers a vision of how technology and local solutions can turn a goal into a reality.</p>
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By Jessica Corbett
In another win for climate campaigners, leaders of 12 major cities around the world — collectively home to about 36 million people — committed Tuesday to divesting from fossil fuel companies and investing in a green, just recovery from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
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