The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Wildlife Conference Mulls Loosening Restrictions on Ivory Trade
Some 183 nations are set to discuss possibly loosening elephant and ivory exports at the World Wildlife Conference on trade in endangered species, known as CITES, which is meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.
Representatives that signed the 1973 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species are set to take part in the conference. It opens Saturday and runs through Aug. 28, with key decisions expected in the final two days.
Conservationists have warned of "unprecedented" species declines due to mankind's exploitation of the planet's fauna and flora.
"Business as usual is no longer an option," CITES Secretary General Ivonne Higuero said at the start of the meeting, warning that "nature's dangerous decline is unprecedented."
Among the 56 proposals to change, mostly to strengthen, the level of protection among vulnerable or endangered species is one that would loosen restrictions on elephant and ivory exports, a debate that has divided African nations.
Several countries in southern Africa support an end to a ban on ivory and rhino horn exports, saying the animal populations have increased to the point of warranting a rule change. They also argue that hunting and trophy trade is important income for local communities.
Among the backers is Zambia, which has argued that its population of African elephants have stabilized at about 27,000 and wants to allow for ivory stockpile sales as well as exports of hunting trophies, hides and leathers.
However, 10 other countries, all but one of them African, want total protection for elephants from international ivory trade, arguing that a loosening of ivory restrictions could lead to poachers.
Israel has also proposed tougher regulations on the legal trade of mammoth ivory, also known as "ice ivory." Mammoth ivory trade has become a booming business, and the convention will have to determine whether products from the long-extinct species should be covered by CITES.
Elephant and mammoth tusks are almost indistinguishable to the untrained eye, and illegal traffickers of elephant tusks have tried to pass it off as "ice ivory."
CITES bans trade in some products entirely, while allowing for the trade of some endangered species provided it doesn't hurt their populations in the wild. Customs officials around the world who inspect shipments of plants and animals across borders know to watch out for the CITES logo, a seal of approval that the trade of the items are legitimate.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Deutsche Welle.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Allegra Kirkland, Jeremy Deaton, Molly Taft, Mina Lee and Josh Landis
Climate change is already here. It's not something that can simply be ignored by cable news or dismissed by sitting U.S. senators in a Twitter joke. Nor is it a fantastical scenario like The Day After Tomorrow or 2012 that starts with a single crack in the Arctic ice shelf or earthquake tearing through Los Angeles, and results, a few weeks or years later, in the end of life on Earth as we know it.
Air pollution particles that a pregnant woman inhales have the potential to travel through the lungs and breach the fetal side of the placenta, indicating that unborn babies are exposed to black carbon from motor vehicles and fuel burning, according to a study published in the journal Nature Communications.
Teen activist Greta Thunberg delivered a talking-to to members of Congress Tuesday during a meeting of the Senate Climate Change Task Force after politicians praised her and other youth activists for their efforts and asked their advice on how to fight climate change.
The University of California system will dump all of its investments from fossil fuels, as the Associated Press reported. The university system controls over $84 billion between its pension fund and its endowment. However, the announcement about its investments is not aimed to please activists.
By Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
World leaders have a formidable task: setting a course to save our future. The extreme weather made more frequent and severe by climate change is here. This spring, devastating cyclones impacted 3 million people in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. Record heatwaves are hitting Europe and other regions — this July was the hottest month in modern record globally. Much of India is again suffering severe drought.
By Mark Hertsgaard
The United Nations Secretary General says that he is counting on public pressure to compel governments to take much stronger action against what he calls the climate change "emergency."