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.
By Governor Jay Inslee
Climate Week this year coincides with clear skies in Washington state for the first time in almost two weeks.
In just a few days in early September, Washington state saw enough acres burned – more than 600,000 – to reach our second-worst fire season on record. Our worst fire season came only five years ago. Wildfires aren't new to the west, but their scope and danger today is unlike anything firefighters have seen. People up and down the West Coast – young and old, in rural areas and in cities – were choking on smoke for days on end, trapped in their homes.
Fires like these are becoming the norm, not the exception.
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By Bill McKibben
To understand the planetary importance of this autumn's presidential election, check the calendar. Voting ends on November 3—and by a fluke of timing, on the morning of November 4 the United States is scheduled to pull out of the Paris Agreement.
President Trump announced that we would abrogate our Paris commitments during a Rose Garden speech in 2017. But under the terms of the accords, it takes three years to formalize the withdrawal. So on Election Day it won't be just Americans watching: The people of the world will see whether the country that has poured more carbon into the atmosphere than any other over the course of history will become the only country that refuses to cooperate in the one international effort to do something about the climate crisis.
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Do you support or oppose each of the following policies as part of the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic?<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDQzODcyMC9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxNjg4MzY4OX0.B-bt9mltOhK0MHFbzK8G3_8sBkDAeUsAWm-AhNZYoxQ/img.png?width=980" id="acd43" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8724178274b9f96e27055f74a1bafe20" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
America's largest national forest, Tongass National Forest in Alaska, will be opened up to logging and road construction after the Trump administration finalizes its plans to open up the forest on Friday, according to The New York Times.
Aerial view of the Tongass National Forest. Alan Wu / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0
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Hamstrung by coronavirus lockdowns, frustrated school strikers have spent months staging digital protests against world leaders failing to act urgently on climate change.
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Opportunity for a New Normal<p>Last September's Global Climate Strike drew young and old protestors around the world, with organizers estimating a global turnout of 7.6 million, including an estimated 270,000 people in Berlin. Activists have adjusted this year's event to account for social distancing and different levels of coronavirus restrictions in cities taking part.</p><p>They say COVID-19 also presents opportunities.</p><p>"The pandemic shows that we can change our normal daily life, and we are very able to adjust to a situation of crisis," she says. The key question is how economies get back on their feet: "We have the possibility to build a new normal, to build a renewable world order, and an environmentally just, climate-just normal for everybody."</p><p>In July, Jeng was among 20 female Fridays for Future activists from the Global South to sign an open letter to G20 finance ministers warning that their decisions in "exclusive backrooms" over stimulus packages and corporate bailouts would "lock in development pathways for decades."</p><p>"The system is not broken, it was built to be unjust. We don't need recovery, we need a reboot," the letter reads, stressing that "black people, indigenous peoples and people of color," have been disproportionately hit by the economic, climate and coronavirus crises. </p>
Policy 'Not Quite There Yet'<p>Figures on stimulus spending do not suggest their words had much impact. The ministers were criticized for failing to relieve the debt of poorer countries, and according to <a href="https://www.energypolicytracker.org/region/g20/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Energy Policy Tracker</a>, G20 countries by August had pledged $169 billion (142 billion euros) to fossil fuels since the beginning of the pandemic.</p><p>Katrin Uba, associate professor of political science at Uppsala University in Sweden, is researching Fridays for Future. She says that despite the movement raising awareness and gaining access to policymakers, real policy change "is not there yet."</p><p>Still, she stresses that social movements go through waves of mobilization as public attention on their core issues ebbs and flows. And perhaps one of Fridays for Future's biggest achievements is birthing a politically active generation that will keep the fight up long after corona becomes a memory. </p><p>"We know clearly from our research that many of the people who came to the streets hadn't done any protesting before in their lives," she told DW. "And we also know that if you do one protest, you are likely to do more."</p>
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