Emerging Environmental Security Issues


- Monthly Reports -

Your views on these items and/or your suggestions of additional items are most welcome; please email Elizabeth Florescu at millennium-project@igc.org.

The Millennium Project defines environmental security as environmental viability for life support, with three sub-elements:
· preventing or repairing military damage to the environment,
· preventing or responding to environmentally caused conflicts, and
· protecting the environment due to its inherent moral value.

For an organization of the items in cathegories around the structure of this definition, please see:
- ES-scanning-10.pdf for items identified between August 2002 and June 2010, or
- ES-2006-08.pdf (includes potential military implications) for items identified between July 2006-June 2008
- ES-2008-09.pdf (includes potential military implications) for items identified between July 2008-June 2009
- ES-2009-10.pdf (includes potential military implications) for items identified between July 2009-June 2010
- ES-2010-11.pdf (includes potential military implications) for items identified between July 2010-June 2011

For a complete version of the monthly reports with Military Implications, see the Army Environmental Policy Institute web page http://www.aepi.army.mil/reports/

This webpage lists the items identified since January 2009. For the items identified before, please see the links below or the webpages:
- es-scann-2005.html
for the 2002-2005 items, and
- es-scann-2008.html for the 2006-2008 items.

Following are the items organized by the months when they were identified -- updated monthly.

2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011

2010
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010

2009
December 2009
November 2009

October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009

January 2009

Items identifed over 2006-2008:

2008
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
July-August 2008

June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008

2007
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007

June 2007
May 2007

April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007

2006
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006

Items identifed over 2002-2005:

2005
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005

August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005

April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005

2004
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004

2003
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
August-September 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003

2002
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002


June 2011

International Oceans Agreement in Negotiations
The world is increasingly aware that human actions and climate change are having serious impacts on the oceans. International expert groups have been meeting to create regulations for more sustainable use of the oceans. Recommendations concerning biodiversity preservation and ocean areas beyond national jurisdiction will be made to the 66th session of the UN General Assembly to be held on September 13, 2011. A central recommendation will be to develop a multilateral agreement under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Sources:
Fourth Meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group to Study Issues Relating to the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biological Diversity Beyond Areas of National Jurisdiction http://www.iisd.ca/oceans/marinebiodiv4/
Twelfth Meeting of the UN Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea http://www.iisd.ca/oceans/icp12/
International Earth system expert workshop on ocean stresses and impacts http://www.stateoftheocean.org/pdfs/1906_IPSO-LONG.pdf
Mass Extinction of Ocean Species Soon to Be 'Inevitable' http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/jun2011/2011-06-21-01.html

European E. coli Outbreak Reveals Gaps in WHO and WTO Rules
The European E. coli outbreak has become one of the biggest E. coli epidemics in history. WHO reported that by June 5, 2011, 12 outbreaks were reported in 12 European countries, with a total of 2,266 E. coli-related cases. The ban on vegetables introduced to curb the spread of E. coli affected many countries, revealing problems with the international legal system under the WHO and WTO that regulates responses to disease outbreaks, notes an analysis published in Insights by the American Society of International Law. The WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures does not stipulate compensation to exporting states harmed by unjustified trade restrictions and does not protect non‑WTO members. Similarly, the IHR does not have enforceable sanctions for countries that adopt unjustifiably severe traffic and trade restrictions.
Sources:
International Law and the E. coli Outbreaks in Europe http://www.asil.org/insights110606.cfm
Pandemic influenza preparedness: sharing of influenza viruses and access to vaccines and other benefits http://apps.who.int/gb/ebwha/pdf_files/WHA64/A64_R5-en.pdf
Novartis welcomes endorsement of Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework at World Health Assembly http://www.pharmanews.eu/novartis/814-novartis-welcomes-endorsement-of-pandemic-influenza-preparedness-framework-at-world-health-assembly

OSCE in Ukraine Establishes New Program to Address Economic, Environmental, and Military/Political Challenges in Eastern Europe
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Project Coordinator in Ukraine (PCU) has developed an Economic-Environmental/Politico-Military Program to support Ukraine’s efforts to implement OSCE commitments. Among other foci, the program will address the clearing of areas contaminated by wartime ordnance and disposal of rocket fuel, and build capacity for combating illegal transboundary transportation of hazardous waste in Eastern Europe.
Source:
Economic-environmental & politico-military http://www.osce.org/ukraine/45448

Democratic Republic of the Congo Strengthens Environmental Regulations and Enforcement
A new law passed by the parliament of the Democratic Republic of the Congo requires companies working in country to submit environmental impact reports. Reportedly, while the details have yet to be finalized by ministers, the new law will apply to all projects—existing and future—in all sectors, from exploitation of raw materials to infrastructure, forestry, and farming.
Source:
New Congo Law Demands Environmental Impact Studies http://planetark.org/wen/62391

Myanmar Dam Construction Triggers Internal Conflict on China’s Border
Armed conflicts have erupted in Myanmar’s northern Kachin state over construction of large hydropower dams to supply electricity to China. The Kachin Independence Organization had sent a letter to the Chinese government warning that civil war would occur if the construction of the Myitsone Dam on Myanmar’s territory proceeds. Construction continued and the Myanmar forces came to the area. The Kachin Independence Army engaged the government’s army, casualties have occurred and around 10,000 people have fled the area, some going into China. Fears increase that the fighting will expand to other provinces. The dams on the Dapein River are being built by an association of Chinese companies and the Myanmar Electric Power Enterprise.
Sources:
Fighting Erupts Over Chinese Hydropower Dams in Burma http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/jun2011/2011-06-15-01.html
China Warns Burma Over Fighting http://www.rfa.org/english/news/burma/warns-06172011103835.html Fast Degradability Adds to Landfill Methane Problem
A paper by Dr. Morton Barlaz, of North Carolina State Univ.'s Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering, calls attention to the fact that the FTC's requirement for quick degradation of "biodegradable" products exacerbates the problem of methane emission from landfills, since the materials tend to degrade before methane collection capabilities are installed.
Source:
Study questions the eco-friendliness of biodegradable products http://www.gizmag.com/biodegradable-garbage-methane-gas/18765/?utm_source=Gizmag+Subscribers&utm_campaign=3d63f9d356-UA-2235360-4&utm_medium=email

Technological Advances with Environmental Security Implications
New Detection and Cleanup Techniques
Remote Live Video in Rugged Environments
SIE Computing Solutions, Inc. announced its new video streaming system for rugged situational awareness in unmanned vehicles and remote surveillance applications.
Sources:
SIE Computing Solutions Introduces Application-Ready Video Processing Solution for Rugged Situational Awareness http://www.sys-con.com/node/1861227
SIE Computing Solutions Inc., website www.sie-cs.com
Beyond Electronics Corporation, website http://www.beyondelectronics.us/

Imaging System Designed for Gas Detection
Bruker has launched its HI 90 Hyperspectral Imaging System reported to, “detect, identify and quantify a range of organic molecules that exist in the atmosphere. The HI 90 system can identify and visualize hazardous clouds during chemical accidents or terrorist attacks from long distances. The dispersion, dimensions and direction of travel of the discharged chemicals can be assessed and the source of the cloud can also be located.”
Sources:
Bruker Launches HI 90 Hyperspectral Imaging System http://www.azosensors.com/news.aspx?newsID=2826
Bruker, website http://www.bruker.com/

Protein Fragments Enable Highly Sensitive Explosive Detection
MIT researchers led by Prof. Michael Strano report developing a highly sensitive detector for nitro-aromatic compounds such as TNT. The technology uses protein fragments called bombolitins that are attached to carbon nanotubes and are sensitive to the nitro-aromatic compounds. The nanotubes fluoresce; when the attached peptide picks up a nitro-aromatic molecule, the fluorescence wavelength changes, a change which is more easily detected than the intensity change produced in other systems. Still to be worked out are techniques for bringing the target molecules to the sensors.
Sources:
New sensor developed by MIT chemical engineers can detect tiny traces of explosives http://web.mit.edu/press/2011/explosive-detection.html
Peptide secondary structure modulates single-walled carbon nanotube fluorescence as a chaperone sensor for nitroaromatics http://www.pnas.org/content/108/21/8544

Increasing Energy Efficiency Technologies
Nanotech Antennas Increase Conversion Efficiencies of Solar Energy to Electricity
Separate research teams at Rice University and at the University of Missouri, Chemical Engineering Department, announced “nantennas”-- light, flexible sheets of gold structure that capture infrared light (heat). The team at the University of Missouri asserts the sheets could absorb more than 90% of solar energy (greater use of the spectrum including heat – infrared radiation) and has partnered with Cambridge, MA-based MicroContinuum to convert the captured energy into electricity. The Missouri team-lead, Patrick Pinhero, projects the technology will be ready for production in five years and adaptable to existing systems.
Sources:
New Solar Product Captures Up to 95 Percent of Light Energy http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110516181339.htm
Report: Photo-detection with Active Optical Antennas, Journal Science http://www.sciencemag.org/content/332/6030/702.abstract

Process for Producing Hydrogen from Ethanol
A team of scientists from Spain, Scotland, and New Zealand has announced the development of a catalyst-based technique for producing hydrogen, using a combination of sunlight and ethanol at ambient temperature and pressure. They claim their method is less expensive and has a higher yield than previous ones.
Sources:
Hydrogen generated from sunlight and ethanol http://www.gizmag.com/upc-hydrogen-ethanol/18755/?utm_source=Gizmag+Subscribers&utm_campaign=7566bba00f-UA-2235360-4&utm_medium=email
The effect of gold loading and particle size on photocatalytic hydrogen production from ethanol over Au/TiO2 nanoparticles http://www.nature.com/nchem/journal/v3/n6/full/nchem.1048.html

Rotating Mirrors Double Output of Solar Power
Smart Solar International, a spin-off from the University of Tokyo's Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, will soon start production of a solar power generator in which a row of slowly rotating aluminum mirrors tracking the sun continually directs the moving sunbeams onto a central tube that is packed with high-performance, multi-layered solar cells, protected by an anti-overheating system. The developers claim the technology produces double the output of conventional structures.
Source:
Japan firm develops 'sun-chasing' solar panels http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-06-japan-firm-sun-chasing-solar-panels.html

Liquid Electrodes Promise Major Battery Improvements
Profs. W. Craig Carter and Yet-Ming Chiang of MIT have described a new form of battery in which the electrodes are composed of particles suspended in a liquid electrolyte and separated by a filter, such as a thin porous membrane. They claim a ten times improvement in energy density over current liquid flow batteries and cheaper manufacturing than conventional lithium-ion batteries. The new technology is being licensed to 24M Technologies of Cambridge MA.
Sources:
New battery design could be breakthrough for electric vehicles and grid storage http://www.kurzweilai.net/new-battery-design-could-be-breakthrough-for-electric-vehicles-and-grid-storage
Semi-Solid Lithium Rechargeable Flow Battery (abstract) http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/aenm.201100152/abstract

New Alloy Is Basis for Thermoelectric Generation
Prof. Richard James and colleagues at the Univ. of Minnesota have announced the discovery of a new multiferroic alloy, Ni45Co5Mn40Sn10, which may be able to form the basis for a practical thermoelectric generating system. (Multiferroic is a specialized term of art for some materials exhibiting ferromagnetic properties, but that may lack iron in their composition.)
Sources:
New alloy converts heat directly into electricity http://www.gizmag.com/alloy-converts-heat-into-electricity/19025/
The Direct Conversion of Heat to Electricity Using Multiferroic Alloys http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/aenm.201000048/abstract

Updates on Previously Identified Issues

Climate Change
Scientific Evidence and Natural Disasters
Every month for the past 25 years, the global temperature has been higher than the 20th century average for that month says the Climate Monitoring Branch at the National Climatic Data Center. Meanwhile, CO2 emissions reached a record 30.6 metric gigatonnes in 2010– a 1.6Gt rise compared to 2009, mainly from burning fossil fuel, according to IEA estimates. May 2011 Atmospheric CO2 reached a record 394.35 ppm.
Food and Water Security
The Agricultural Outlook 2011-2020 by OECD and FAO predicts that prices for agricultural commodities will increase over the next decade at an average 20-30% in real terms over the 2001-2010 decade. The FAO warns that climate change will have major impacts on the availability of water for growing food and on crop productivity in the decades to come. The report, Climate Change, Water, and Food Security, projects a greater frequency in droughts and floods and underscores that water-scarce areas of the world are expected to become drier and hotter. Similarly, Oxfam report Growing a Better Future notes that while the world’s population is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, the average growth rate in agricultural yields has almost halved since 1990. It forecasts that by 2030, the average cost of key crops could increase by 120‑180%.
The worst drought in 60 years in the Horn of Africa triggered grain price increases of 30% to 80% in Kenya, and nearly 41% in Ethiopia. The drought affected more than 10 million people in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda, and the situation continues to deteriorate, says the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
The OECD preliminary report on Green Growth for Food and Agriculture identifies three priority areas for the agricultural sector: increasing productivity in a sustainable manner; ensuring that markets provide the right signals; and establishing and enforcing well-defined property rights. Meanwhile, the Global Harvest Initiative estimates that the overall investment gap in the agricultural sector in developing countries is approaching $90 billion annually.
The first meeting of the G20 Agriculture Ministers, from 22-23 June 2011 in Paris, France, adopted an Agriculture Ministerial Declaration and Action Plan on Food Price Volatility and Agriculture that supports initiatives on food production and information exchange. The WFP welcomed the Action Plan, noting that it will ensure that the hungry have access to food in emergencies. Further, a call for the G20 to stop promoting biofuel – policies that many believed have contributed to food price rises – was blocked by Brazil and the US, the two major ethanol producers.
Rising Sea Levels
Present warming in the Arctic indicates that sea levels could rise by up to 5.3 feet (1.6 meters) by 2100, says the Oslo-based Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program. Similarly, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that Greenland’s ice sheet melted at its highest rate since data recording began in 1958, while the world's alpine glaciers shrank for the 20th year in a row.
Migration
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon states that environmental degradaion and the impacts of climate change are new and important factors causing refugees, adding to the effects of armed conflict—the traditional cause of displacement.
At the Nansen Conference on Climate Change and Displacement in the 21st Century, UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres stressed that natural disasters and climate change cannot be addressed in isolation from other global trends such as population growth, urbanization, and water, food, and energy insecurity. He urged countries to adopt new measures to cope with climate-induced displacement within and across borders. Guterres suggested the development of a global guiding framework for situations of cross-border displacement resulting from climate change and natural disasters.
Post-Kyoto Negotiations
The UN Climate Change Conference for continuing negotiation for a post-Kyoto treaty took place in Bonn, Germany, June 6‑17, 2011. Critics suggest that the conference did not make enough progress for an ambitious new treaty to be negotiated at the next step, in Durban, South Africa at the end of November.
Sources:
State of the Climate: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/bams-state-of-the-climate
Worst ever carbon emissions leave climate on the brink http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/may/29/carbon-emissions-nuclearpower
Earth's CO2 Home Page http://co2now.org/
Climate Change, water and food security http://www.fao.org/docrep/014/i2096e/i2096e.pdf
Growing a Better Future, Oxfam report http://www.oxfam.org.uk/resources/papers/growing-better-future.html
Rising food prices increase squeeze on poor – Oxfam http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-13597657
UN on Horn of Africa Drought http://www.unmultimedia.org/tv/unifeed/d/17939.html
OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2011-2020 http://www.oecd.org/pages/0,3417,en_36774715_36775671_1_1_1_1_1,00.html
The G20 Agriculture Ministers meeting http://www.g20-g8.com/g8-g20/g20/english/news/news/ministerial-meeting-agriculture.1344.html
Greenland ice melts most in half-century: US http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jE_Zh3AdpeTWxC1NSCTqvugYKvPg?docId=CNG.901f10405411aeeb8554b48d4d3a7341.531
World Refugee Day: UNHCR report finds 80 per cent of world's refugees in developing countries http://www.unhcr.org/4dfb66ef9.html
"People are Increasingly Fleeing their Homes because of Extreme Poverty, Environmental Degradation, Climate Change" http://www.unis.unvienna.org/unis/pressrels/2011/unissgsm275.html
UN Climate Change Conference June 2011 http://unfccc.int/meetings/sb34/items/6060.php

Water Security Strategy for the Arab Region
During the third session of the Arab Water Ministers’ Council, taking place in Cairo, Egypt, Ministers agreed to adopt the water security strategy in the Arab region. The strategy will be presented at the Economic and Social Council scheduled to be held in the Arab League in December. [Related item: Arab Post-Political Turmoil—a Time for Environmental Diplomacy in March 2011 environmental security report.]
Sources:
Arab Water Ministers Council Approves Water Security Strategy http://www.sudanvisiondaily.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=76627
Opening speech from Loïc Fauchon http://www.worldwatercouncil.org/fileadmin/wwc/About_us/Governance/President_statements/AMCW_Ouverture_Forum_final_GB_15_JUNE_2011.doc

New Chemicals Added to the Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent
The 5th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure (PIC) for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade was held June 20-24, 2011, in Geneva, Switzerland. The 13 decisions adopted by the COP include adding aldicarb, alachlor, and endosulfan to Annex III of the Convention (chemicals subject to the PIC procedure). The amendments enter into force for all parties on October 24, 2011. No agreement was reached on non-compliance mechanisms and procedures and on the inclusion of chrysotile asbestos in Annex III. The conference also adopted the document on Enhancing Cooperation and Coordination Among The Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions. The document outlines mechanisms for implementing synergies, decisions, and cooperation in areas of common concern, and welcomes the establishment of the Executive Secretary of the three conventions. [Related item: First Simultaneous ExCOPs for Improving MEAs' Synergies and Coordination in October 2009 report.]
Sources:
Fifth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade (PIC COP5) http://www.iisd.ca/chemical/pic/cop5/

Europe is Negotiating a Legally Binding Agreement on Forests by 2013
Ministers and high-level delegates participating to the Forest Europe Conference held in Oslo, Norway, June 14-16, 2011, adopted a Mandate for Negotiating a Legally Binding Agreement on Forests in Europe, as well as a decision outlining goals and targets for European forests to 2020. The negotiations are expected to begin this year and to conclude by mid-2013. [Related item: Sixth UN Forum on Forests Agrees to Multi-Year Work Plan in February 2006]
Sources:
FOREST EUROPE Ministerial Conference, Oslo, Norway June 14-16, 2011 http://www.foresteurope2011.org/
State of Europe's Forests 2011: Status and Trends in SustainableForest Management in Europe http://www.foresteurope.org/?module=Files;action=File.getFile;ID=1613

European Parliament Adopted Directive on Pollution Toll for Trucks
The European Parliament approved a directive by which EU Member States will charge vehicles of over 3.5 metric tons for air and noise pollution costs. The new Eurovignette rules have yet to be formally approved by the EU Member States. Simultaneously, China and the U.S. are opposing the EU regulation to include their flights in the EU's CO2 emissions cap-and-trade program. [Related item: EU Airline Carbon Trading to Start in 2011––a Year Earlier than Planned in May 2008 report.]
Sources:
Charging of heavy goods vehicles (Eurovignette) – 77944 http://www.europarl.europa.eu/en/media-professionals/content/20110607SHL30278/html/Charging-of-heavy-goods-vehicles-%28Eurovignette%29-77944
Airline Maneuvers Intensify as E.U. Cap on Jet Emissions Looms http://www.nytimes.com/cwire/2011/05/31/31climatewire-airline-maneuvers-intensify-as-eu-cap-on-jet-92252.html
EU 'won't back down' in China aviation row http://euobserver.com/9/32553/?rk=1

Australia Likely to Adopt a Carbon Tax Soon
Although Australia’s government hoped to pass a new regulation on carbon tax by the end of June 2011, the debate continues, as the proposal has yet to win the vote of climate skeptics and those who fear potential negative impacts on the job market. Reportedly, the bill will include a guarantee that the carbon tax will transition to an emissions trading scheme in 2015. [Related item: Climate Change Issues May Have Determined Australian Election in November 2007 report.]
Sources:
Australia’s Fractious Climate Debate http://www.theworld.org/2011/06/australia-to-impose-tax-on-greenhouse-pollution/
PM pins hopes on climate tax switch http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/pm-pins-hopes-on-climate-tax-switch-20110629-1gra0.html

Potential Geoengineering Governance Emerging
The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) convened a team of 60 climate scientists in a consultation process to assess whether or not possible geoengineering methods to address climate change were scientifically sound. The results of the consultations should be included in the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), which is scheduled for release in 2014. [Related item: Geoengineering May Require International Environmental Regulations in January 2010 report.]
Sources:
IPCC asks scientists to assess geo-engineering climate solutions http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jun/15/ipcc-geo-engineering-climate
IPCC assesses geoengineering proposals
http://www.scidev.net/en/news/ipcc-assesses-geoengineering-proposals.html
We're heading into risky geo-engineering territory http://www.embassymag.ca/dailyupdate/view/were_heading_into_risky_geoengineering_territory_06-20-2011

Growing Movement of "Biohackers" Increases Concerns over Biosecurity
A small group of founders is months away from opening the 2,000-square-foot BioCurious Community Lab laboratory space in Mountain View, CA. The lab will provide advanced facilities for "biohackers", the parallel in the DNA world to the computer hackers who have created so much useful software. The ability of amateurs (essentially hobbyists) in basement labs to create, buy, manipulate, splice, and otherwise experiment with DNA offers endless possibilities for new scientific advances; but also, unfortunately, provides chances for inadvertent (or even deliberate) and possibly catastrophic mischief. [Related item: Biosafety Regulations Reviewed in Context of Worrying Forecasts in October 2010 report.]
Sources:
DIY 'biopunks' want science in hands of people http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/2011-06-01-science-biopunk-hacker_n.htm
BioCurious http://www.meetup.com/biocurious/

Europe’s Sentinel-1 Satellite to Monitor Agriculture and Food Production Security
In a bid to address increasing challenges to food production, The European Space agency is investigating expanding its Sentinel-1 satellite program beyond marine applications to also deliver new methods for monitoring crops. Sentinel-1 is expected to launch in 2013 as part of Europe’s Global Monitoring for Environment and Security Programme (GMES).
Sources:
Sentinel-1 to offer new ways of monitoring crops from space http://environmentalresearchweb.org/cws/article/yournews/46108

Increasing International Efforts to Address Space Debris
On June 28, 2011, a piece of debris passed within 335m (1,100ft) of the International Space Station, the closest ever, said NASA. The six-member crew was forced to evacuate into the two Soyuz escape capsules. NASA’s Space Surveillance Network is tracking around 16,000 objects larger than 4 inches (10 centimeters). Space junk danger is increasing. Adequate international regulations and enforcement is lacking. [Related item: Steps for an International Regime for Space Debris and Space Traffic Control System in May 2009 environmental security report.]
Sources:
Space junk narrowly misses station http://www.space-travel.com/reports/Space_junk_narrowly_misses_station_999.html
Scanning the skies for debris hazards http://www.esa.int/esaMI/SSA/SEM61NJ4LOG_0.html
European Endorsement for ESA's Space Hazards Programme http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110617124016.htm

Nanotechnology Safety Issues
White House Issues Principles for Nanotech Application Regulation
The White House Emerging Technologies Interagency Policy Coordination Committee (ETIPC) has developed a set of principles specific to the regulation and oversight of applications of nanotechnology, to guide the development and implementation of policies at the agency level. These principles reinforce an earlier set of overarching principles for the regulation and oversight of emerging technologies and reflect recommendations from a report on nanotechnology by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.
Sources:
Responsible realization of nanotechnology's full potential http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=21694.php
Principles for Nanotech Application Regulation http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/inforeg/for-agencies/nanotechnology-regulation-and-oversight-principles.pdf

FDA Publishes Proposed Guidelines on Identifying Nanotech Products
The Food and Drug Administration has published Draft Guidance for Industry, Considering Whether an FDA-Regulated Product Involves the Application of Nanotechnology. The agency is inviting comments, and participation in further development.
Sources:
FDA opens dialogue on nanotechnology regulation http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=21755.php
Considering Whether an FDA-Regulated Product Involves the Application of Nanotechnology http://www.fda.gov/RegulatoryInformation/Guidances/ucm257698.htm

Study Shows Long Carbon Nanotubes Can Be Disease Hazard
A study done by Prof. Ken Donaldson and colleagues at the Univ. of Edinburgh in a mouse model has shown that longer carbon nanotubes can get stuck in the lung and cause inflammatory processes and ultimately such diseases as mesothelioma.  The scientists are now looking at assessing the level of risk involved, for instance, the distribution of nanofiber length in nanotech workplaces.
Sources:
Nanotubes pose health risk, study shows http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-06-nanotubes-pose-health.html
Length-Dependent Retention of Carbon Nanotubes in the Pleural Space of Mice Initiates Sustained Inflammation and Progressive Fibrosis on the Parietal Pleura http://www.journals.elsevierhealth.com/periodicals/ajpa/article/S0002-9440%2811%2900274-4/abstract

Study on Nano Textiles and Façades Lists Criteria, Points Up Data Lack
An in-depth study at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology at St. Gallen concentrated on the risk assessment of engineered nanomaterials in textiles and building façade coatings. It has laid out eight criteria that should be useful in systematically analyzing and interpreting the state of the art on the effects of ENM. The authors point out the grievous lack of data in the field, especially in light of the rapid growth of nanotech usage.
Sources:
Towards responsible nanotextiles and coatings: a new risk approach http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=21858.php
Environmental and health effects of nanomaterials in nanotextiles and façade coatings http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412011000444 (Abstract; purchase or subscription required for full access)

Nanosilver Group's Response to German Institute's Risk Assessment Statement
The Silver Nanotechnology Working Group (SNWG) has prepared a statement regarding the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR)'s April declaration concerning consumer products containing nanosilver. SNWG claims that BfR ignored presented facts, and lays out rebuttals to BfR's criticisms.
Sources:
SNWG Responds to BfR's Statement Concerning Nanosilver http://nanotech.lawbc.com/2011/05/articles/international/snwg-responds-to-bfrs-statement-concerning-nanosilver/
SNWG comments on BfR & nanosilver http://nanotech.lawbc.com/uploads/file/00076915.PDF

"Challenges of Regulation and Risk Assessment of Nanomaterials" Event
Presentations from the above workshop, held by EC FP7 Project ENPRA (Engineered NanoParticle Risk Assessment), are now online. According to Nanowerk News, "34 experts from 26 different organizations informed the participants on the latest scientific progress in the field of nanoparticles risk assessment produced within national and European projects, and first results of ENPRA … were presented in detail …[as well as] recent developments concerning legislation in the EU and beyond".
Sources:
Presentations now online for "Challenges of Regulation and Risk Assessment of Nanomaterials" event http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=21704.php
Presentations: http://ihcp.jrc.ec.europa.eu/events_workshops/joint-jrc-nano-enpra-2011/program/presentations

Conference Planned on European Code of Conduct for Nanotechnologies
The EC FP7 Nanocode Project is planning the Nanocode International Conference, Promoting Responsible Innovation: The Future Of The European Code Of Conduct For Nanotechnologies, September 29th 2011, Hotel Silken Berlaymont, Brussels. According to the announcement, "The Conference will give interested parties a first-hand opportunity to shape the definitive version of the Master Plan and CodeMeter, the tools developed for the further implementation of the Code, and influence the revision of the Code by the European Commission (EC). … It will also provide insight on practices and policies at international level to figure out a global framework for responsible innovation."
Source:
Nanocode International Conference http://www.nanocode.eu/eventsreg/NANOCODE_%20Int_Conf_Flyer_2011_Fin.pdf

Reports and Information Suggested for Review

Canada Creates Four Security Scenarios - Energy Security and Global Environmental Change Identified as the Most Serious and Unpredictable Factors that Could Affect Security
The Army 2040: A First Look scenarios exercise by the Canadian Department of National Defense found that energy security and global environmental change are the most serious and unpredictable factors that could influence societal change and the Canadian (or any) military. The team identified 12 critical issues that could affect the army over the next 30 years—including demographics, technological advancements, space and cyberspace, availability of resources, and weapons proliferation‑‑which were assessed with respect to uncertainty and potential impact. Four scenarios were built. The dystopic scenario implied unsustainable development with increased global competition for scarce energy resources, including in the Arctic region. The other extreme scenario implies a green development with Canada a world leader in developing alternative energy sources. The global scenario depicts a world with serious environmental problems and high risks of conflicts involving ownership and access to resources—from oil to water, food, and others. The scenarios are now under review and the results will be tested through seminars and war games. The results will be used in designing the new military concept to be delivered around 2015.
Sources:
Alternate futures: Imagining the army of 2040 http://www.vanguardcanada.com/ImaginingTheArmyOf2040DLCD
Exclusive: Oil, water shortages, climate change could provoke wars: Report http://www.canada.com/technology/Exclusive+water+shortages+climate+change+could+provoke+wars+Report/5019945/story.html

InforMEA Webportal a One-Stop Shop for Multilateral Environmental Agreements
The "InforMEA" <http://informea.org> webportal is designed to give access to multilateral environmental agreements from one location. Launched and managed by the UN Environment Programme, it now includes 17 MEAs, providing information on the respective MEAs as well as updates and related relevant information (e.g. latest resolutions and upcoming events), as well as national focal points for MEAs states party.
Sources:
"InforMEA" <http://informea.org>
UN launches new information portal on Multilateral Environmental Agreements http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=2645&ArticleID=8781&l=en

EU Member States Cooperate to Monitor Geo-hazards
The 27 EU member states have united under a new project, PANGEO, which will pool European geological data to form a free, online geohazard information portal for public policy makers. The open project will enable access to data on geohazards and their potential socio-economic impacts. The project is funded under the “Space” theme of the Seventh Framework Programme and led by UK mapping specialists Furgo NPA, in support of the European Global Monitoring for Environment & Security (GMES) program. GMES works in partnership with the European Space Agency, European Environment Agency, and Member States.
Sources:
EU Members unite to research the impact of Geohazards http://www.balkans.com/open-news.php?uniquenumber=104458
Furgo NPA, U.K. company, website http://www.fugronpa.com/

UN-Energy Newsletter Launched
The UN-Energy knowledge network has published in June 2011 the first issue of its newsletter. Since UN-Energy Newsletter is the UN mechanism for fostering inter-agency collaboration in the field of energy, the newsletter will feature the latest developments in this sector, with special focus on energy needs and resources, renewable energy, and relevant developments for addressing sustainable energy supply, and alleviation of energy poverty.
Sources:
"InforMEA" <http://informea.org>
UN launches new information portal on Multilateral Environmental Agreements http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=2645&ArticleID=8781&l=en

Interactive Service Allows Mapping of Population and Climate Change
Population Action International is offering an interactive service that allows users to generate maps based on data sets such as water supplies, temperature change, agricultural output, reproductive trends, and population increases, and to project how these variables will relate over time. The maps allow for present, short-term (year 2035), and long-term (year 2090) forecasts. They can be regional or global in scope, and are based on UN estimates of population growth.
Sources:
Population Action International Interactive Mapping, website http://www.populationaction.org/Publications/Interactive_Databases/climate_map.shtml

Global Reservoir and Dam Database Available
A worldwide team, coordinated by the Global Water System Project has spent five years constructing the Global Reservoir and Dam database (GRanD), a unique, geographically explicit, high-resolution global database of almost 6900 large dams and reservoirs.
Source:
Building a better dam map http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-06-building-a-better-dam-map.html
Global Reservoir and Dam Database 1.1: http://www.gwsp.org/85.html

Back to top


May 2011

TERPOL Established Radiological and Nuclear Terrorism Prevention Unit
INTERPOL has established the Radiological and Nuclear Terrorism Prevention Unit to expand beyond its current anti-bioterrorism activities to address chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats. The unit will use intelligence analysis based on an integrated cross-sectoral approach and information sharing among the 188 participating nations and collaboration with national and international specialized organizations. It will provide capacity building and training, as well as operational support through deployment of specialized teams. The Project Geiger database developed in collaboration with the International Atomic Energy Agency and other organizations, lists over 2,500 incidents linked to illegal radiological and nuclear trafficking.
Sources:
INTERPOL global summit sets course for collaboration and prevention against radiological and nuclear terrorism http://www.interpol.int/Public/ICPO/PressReleases/PR2011/PR042.asp
Interpol Stands Up Nuclear Counterterrorism Unit http://gsn.nti.org/gsn/nw_20110519_4421.php

Global Warming Changes Coastal Borders
A three-day gathering of international lawyers, politicians, and UN officials held at Columbia University assessed existing formal and informal rules that would apply to shifting maritime baselines due to climate change. Such situations range from delimitation of maritime economic exploitation zones to continued existence of some nations as legal and sovereign entities. For example, is a nation entitled to economic exploitation zones even if the entire population was forced to relocate elsewhere? Some potential options are updating UNCLOS with a concept of moving maritime baselines, or making permanent the baselines and boundaries of maritime zones of today. President Jurelang Zedkaia of the Marshall Islands requested the UN Security Council to appoint an expert to assist the Council in examining the current and projected effects on vulnerable islands in preparation for the Security Council’s July session on the security implications of climate change. [Note: such situations include small island states such as Kitribati, Marshall Islands, and Tuvalu in the Pacific, and Maldives and Seychelles in the Indian Ocean, as well as the dispute over the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea—whether they are islands entitled to an EEZ or just rocks.]
Sources:
Island Nations May Keep Some Sovereignty if Rising Seas Make Them Uninhabitable http://www.nytimes.com/cwire/2011/05/25/25climatewire-island-nations-may-keep-some-sovereignty-if-63590.html
I am a rock, I am an island. How submerged islands could keep their statehood http://www.economist.com/node/18744261?story_id=18744261
Falling Behind in Ocean Law Development. The Ocean Law Daily, May 26, 2011 (LOSList@oceanlaw.org)
Rising seas threaten Marshall Islands http://www.philly.com/philly/insights/in_the_know/122814188.html

Russia to Establish “Environmental Barriers” on its Borders
Russia is building “ecological barriers” on its borders to reduce impacts of future international disasters such as the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the Fukushima nuclear disaster. A special network of facilities will reportedly monitor air and water pollution at the border regions, thus allowing timely alerts helping to protect the population when necessary. Although there are no details at this point regarding the types of monitoring instruments, many issues concerning the creation of the ecological shield are reported to have already been agreed to by the Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring, the Natural Resources Ministry, and the state nuclear agency.
Sources:
Protecting ecological borders of Russia http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/05/26/50871096.html
Russia needs ecological barrier on borders - emergencies minister http://en.rian.ru/Environment/20110526/164247550.html

China, Japan, and South Korea Foster Cooperation on Environmental Security
The leaders of China, Japan, and South Korea met in Tokyo on May 21-22 for their fourth trilateral summit to strengthen regional security. Cooperation on non-traditional threats such as nuclear safety, disaster prevention, and food, energy and environmental security topped the agenda. There was consensus that East Asia needs a common disaster prevention and relief system to cope with the increased number, intensity, and consequences of natural disasters affecting the region. Such unconventional security issues, which do not involve ideological differences but constitute serious threats to regional peace and prosperity, call for unconventional security cooperation models. South Korea will host a related meeting to explore a free trade agreement among the three countries in the first week of June.
Sources:
Eyes on East Asian Future http://www.tehrantimes.com/index_View.asp?code=241427
South Korea to Host Forum on FTA with China, Japan http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v5/newsworld.php?id=589172
Asia's Threesome Turns Four http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/yoon6/English

The World Meteorological Organization to Expand Scope of Work
The World Meteorological Congress meets every four years to set the agenda for the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The focus of the 16th World Meteorological Congress, held in Geneva, May16-June 3, 2011 is strengthening the WMO’s program in the context of increased likelihood and impact of extreme weather and climate-related hazards. Future priorities include: continuous science and technology development and implementation; further development of the concept of hydrometeorological security; global framework improvement for climate services and better integration of global observing and information systems; disaster risk reduction; aeronautical meteorology program improvement for assisting air traffic management; and capacity building (mostly in developing countries) for spreading the benefits of WMO’s activities. The outcomes of the Congress were not yet available at the time of this writing.
Source:
Sixteenth World Meteorological Congress http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/lsp/congress/index_en.php

ISO 50001 Standard on Energy Management Systems
The International Organization for Standardization is in the process of releasing ISO 50001 Energy management systems -- Requirements with guidance for use. While ISO 50001:2011 applies to all energy performance variables that can be monitored and managed, it “does not prescribe specific performance criteria with respect to energy.”
Sources:
Understanding ISO 50001 Energy Management System Standard and its Integration with an EMS http://e2s2.ndia.org/schedule/Documents/Abstracts/12196.pdf
ISO/FDIS 50001 Energy management systems -- Requirements with guidance for use http://www.iso.org/iso/iso_catalogue/catalogue_tc/catalogue_detail.htm?csnumber=51297

Technological Advances with Environmental Security Implications

New Algorithm Yields More Efficient Environmental Search Patterns
According to a news release, Prof. Daniela Rus, of the University of Waterloo, Ontario, and colleagues planned to present a paper to the May 2011 Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers Conference that describes "a new algorithm enabling sensor-laden robots to focus on the parts of their environments that change most frequently, without losing track of the regions that change more slowly". The new technique should increase efficiencies of collecting data on large expanses of land and sea environments.
Source:
Speeding swarms of sensor robots http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2011/robot-algorithm-0503.html

Self-cleaning, Smog-reducing Aluminum Panels for Building Construction
Alcoa and Japanese manufacturer Toto have announced “Reynobond with EcoClean”, a line of aluminum panels for building construction that have a hydrophilic titanium dioxide coating to which has been applied a Toto chemical, Hydrotect, that breaks down organic material. Exposure of the panel to UV, as in sunlight, triggers a chemical reaction that produces an anti-microbial surface that is cleaned by rain and is also claimed to remove nitrous and sulfuric oxides from the air.
Sources:
Alcoa http://alcoa.com/bcs/aap_eastman/ecoclean/en/home.asp
Toto http://www.totousa.com/WhyTOTO/Innovation/Hydrotect.aspx
Alcoa, Toto unveil green building panels that eat smog http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/smart-takes/alcoa-toto-unveil-green-building-panels-that-eat-smog/16182?tag=nl.e099

New Detection and Cleanup Techniques
Chirped THz Radiation Provides Fast, Sensitive Trace Gas Detection
Chemists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology have found a way of sweeping a THz radiator from 550 to 561 GHz in 100 nanoseconds, to simultaneously detect many different trace gases at very fast rates and sensitivity in the low parts per billion (ppb) range. This technique replaces the "one frequency at a time" approach previously required.
Sources:
Secret behind NIST's new gas detector? Chirp before sniffing http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-05-secret-nist-gas-detector-chirp.html
Chirped-pulse terahertz spectroscopy for broadband trace gas sensing http://www.opticsinfobase.org/abstract.cfm?URI=oe-19-9-8973

Grating-Coupled Porous Silicon Waveguide Provides Sensitive New Sensor
Xing Wei and Prof. Sharon M. Weiss, of Vanderbilt University, Nashville TN, have developed a new molecular matching platform for such applications as DNA sequence or environmental toxin detection. The key to the new approach is the use of a porous silicon substrate to hold the molecules to be matched. With a 3 cm cube, the pores provide a 10,000 times increase in the surface area available for molecule attachment. A grating structure of the sensor allows photometric measurement of the quantity sensed, as well as its identity.
Sources:
Improving DNA sequencing: Sponge-like biosensor crams enormous power into tiny space http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=21511.php
Guided mode biosensor based on grating coupled porous silicon waveguide http://www.opticsinfobase.org/oe/abstract.cfm?uri=oe-19-12-11330

Water Testing and Cleaning Techniques
New Alloy Generates Pure Water and Hydrogen
A news release describes a new alloy of aluminum, gallium, indium, and tin, developed by Prof. Jerry Woodall and Go Choi of Purdue University, that, when dropped into water, "causes a spontaneous reaction, turning the water into steam and generating hydrogen and aluminum tri-hydroxide until the aluminum is used up". The steam can be condensed into potable water, and the hydrogen can be used to power a fuel cell to generate electricity, thus providing two elements useful for survival in an undeveloped environment. The inventors estimate costs of about $1/gal and $0.35/kwh.
Source:
Portable tech might provide drinking water, power to villages http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/research/2011/110503WoodallWater.html

New Detection Systems for Contaminated Water
The EC FP6 project, DINAMICS (DIagnostic NAnotech and MICrotech Sensors), has developed a lab-on-a-chip device that can monitor water and detect different pathogens even at very low concentrations. According to Nanowerk News, "the device uses sensors with very small strands of different pathogenic DNA integrated onto their surfaces to quickly recognize pathogenic DNA from water samples. The DNA in the sensors will only bind to the water samples' corresponding DNA". The reaction is detected electronically or by UV light absorption. The Fraunhofer Institute in Germany has developed a different contamination detection system, based on releasing microorganisms into the sample and then analyzing, by computer, live microimages of their condition and behavior.
Sources:
Diagnostic Nanotech and Microtech Sensors http://www.dinamics-project.eu/
AquaBioTox sensor concept http://www.iosb.fraunhofer.de/servlet/is/25278/
A new detection system can reveal bioterrorist attacks on our water supply network http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=21253.php

Antibodies-based Sensor Offers Fast Detection of Petroleum Chemicals in Water
Prof. Michael Unger of the College of William and Mary's Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester Point VA, working with Sapidyne Instruments, Boise ID, has announced the development of a sensor which uses antibodies to detect and measure contaminants, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), in water. The antibodies, which carry fluorescent tags, are produced from mouse cells that have been sensitized to a protein to which has been attached an analog of the contaminant of interest. Results down to the ppb level can be produced in a matter of minutes.
Source:
Detecting marine pollutants with an antibody-based sensor http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/pure-genius/detecting-marine-pollutants-with-an-antibody-based-sensor/6241?tag=nl.e660

Increasing Energy Efficiency Technologies
New Nanocone Structure Increases Solar Cell Efficiency
A team led by Jun Xu, of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Chemical Sciences Div., has developed a new 3D structure for solar cells that increases the light-to-power conversion efficiency of a photovoltaic device by nearly 80%. The new element consists of zinc oxide n-type nanocones surrounded by a p-type polycrystalline cadmium telluride semiconductor matrix.
Source:
3-D nanocone solar cell technology cranks up efficiency http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=21188.php

A High-Performance Solar-Thermoelectric Generating Device
According to an article in kurzweilai.net, Zhifeng Ren and Gang Chen, of MIT, and their collaborators have produced a solar-thermoelectric generating device with roughly eight times the efficiency of previous designs. It consists of a thermoelectric generator, placed inside a glass vacuum chamber and covered with a black copper plate that absorbs sunlight but does not reradiate it as heat. It requires much less material than conventional photovoltaic panels; therefore, it is cheaper. It can also be integrated into solar hot-water systems.
Sources:
A high-performance solar-thermoelectric generating device http://www.kurzweilai.net/a-high-performance-solar-thermoelectric-generating-device
High-performance flat-panel solar thermoelectric generators with high thermal concentration http://www.nature.com/nmat/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nmat3013.html

High-Efficiency Thermal Waste Heat Energy Converter
Scott Hunter, of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and his team have developed a high-efficiency thermal waste heat energy converter that actively cools electronic devices and other waste heat-producing systems while generating electricity. The technology uses cantilever pyroelectric capacitor structures about 1 mm square in size, thousands of which can be attached to a 1-inch square surface on the subject element. These structures bend back and forth between hot and cold regions, generating electricity in the process. The team expects to achieve efficiencies of 10 to 30 percent in temperature gradients of a few degrees up to several hundred degrees.
Sources:
Energy harvesters transform waste into electricity http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-05-energy-harvesters-electricity.html

Updates on Previously Identified Issues

International Nuclear Safety Regulations to be Strengthened and Enforced
As a result of the Japanese nuclear disaster, many nations are changing their nuclear policies (EU Commission President and leaders of the G-8 are calling for a review of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s nuclear safety convention). Russia proposed making the IAEA’s safety standards mandatory and enforceable and restricting reactors’ construction in earthquake-prone areas. A UN summit on nuclear safety will be held on September 22 in New York. Japan and the IAEA will host an international conference on nuclear safety in 2012. Germany and Switzerland plan to phase out nuclear power. Tokyo Electric Power Co. admitted that about 57 metric tons of radiation-tainted water leaked. Several impact studies are underway. [Related item: Earthquakes, Tsunamis, and Nuclear Disasters in Japan in March 2011 report.]
Sources:
Fukushima: How Many Chernobyls Is It? http://www.veteranstoday.com/2011/05/28/fukushima-how-many-chernobyls-is-it/
'End the Epoch of Atomic Madness' in the EU http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,765066,00.html
Japan sets up independent panel probing Fukushima crisis http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20110524p2g00m0dm070000c.html
U.N. body to probe Fukushima radiation impact http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/23/us-japan-fukushima-un-idUSTRE74M3VT20110523

UN StEP Project Tackles Flow of Electronic Waste
The EPA has pledged $2.5 million over the next five years in a joint program with UN StEP (Solve The e-waste Problem) to track US electronic waste as it flows overseas. [Related item: Hazardous E-waste Grows as Major Environmental Problem in November 2010 report.]
Sources:
US Teams with Global Partners to Curb E-waste http://www.step-initiative.org/news.php?id=0000000163
U.N. to track flow of U.S. electronic waste to Asia and Africa http://www.nydailynews.com/lifestyle/2011/05/02/2011-05-02_un_to_track_flow_of_us_electronic_waste_to_asia_and_africa.html

Discharge Requirements for the Wider Caribbean Region Special Area under MARPOL Annex V Regulations Came into Effect on May 1, 2011
Discharge requirements for the Wider Caribbean Region Special Area under MARPOL Annex V Regulations for the prevention of pollution by garbage from ships came into effect on May 1, 2011. No garbage, except food wastes under certain conditions, may be discharged into the sea from vessels operating in the Wider Caribbean Region. [Related item: New Measure to Enforce Maritime Environmental Protection in March 2010 report.]
Sources:
MARPOL’s “special area” garbage discharge restrictions extended to the Wider Caribbean Region http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=3083d821-22a2-48a1-92f2-04ca2f0aaeb4
Notice of Entry Into Effect of MARPOL Annex V Wider Caribbean Region Special Area http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-04-07/pdf/2011-8244.pdf

IMO Guidelines on the Use of Private Armed Guards to Protect Ships from Piracy
The International Maritime Organization is issuing “interim recommendations” on the use of private armed guards to protect ships from piracy. The recommendations, acting as guidelines, are to be reviewed in September. Observers say that the ratio of one in ten ships off the Somali coast already carrying armed guards is now likely to rise. Four hundred eighty-nine acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships were reported to IMO in 2010, up from 406 in 2009. [Related item: Somali Piracy is also an Eco-terrorism Threat in December 2008 report.]
Source:
Interim guidance on use of privately contracted armed security personnel on board ships agreed by IMO Maritime Safety meeting http://www.imo.org/mediacentre/pressbriefings/pages/27-msc-89-piracy.aspx
Piracy: IMO guidelines on armed guards on ships http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-13486015

New Developments for Strengthening Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity was a key issue on the agenda of the G-8 Summit in Deauville, France. The EU will create a new cyber-defense unit that will pull together IT departments from the European Commission, Parliament, and Council to share intelligence and address attacks on all EU bodies, while Estonian Defense Minister Mart Laar has proposed the formation of a joint cyber security unit between the Baltic and Nordic nations. The U.S. has released its plan to protect the nation’s cyber infrastructure. Among other directives, the plan includes providing immunity to private organizations that make user data available to investigators of cybercrimes and leaves on the table the option of a military response to cyber attacks. The U.S. also announced cooperation on cybersecurity with the UK and India. Meanwhile, Iranian Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi urged stronger domestic cybersecurity measures following rumors of another Stuxnet-type virus, named “Stars”. [Related item: NATO Continues to Develop Cyber Defense Policies in January 2011, The EU Strengthens Legislation to Counter Cybercrime in December 2010, International Legal Frameworks Needed for Cybersecurity in April 2010 environmental security report.]
Sources:
EU Institutions to Create New Cyber Defense Unit http://euobserver.com/18/32368
Sarkozy prioritises internet regulation at G8 summit – Telegraph http://www.cyber-defense.net/news/sarkozy-prioritises-internet-regulation-at-g8-summit-telegraph/
Minister Urges Stronger Cyber Security Measures in Iranian Organizations http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9003071319

Chemical Weapons Disposal Deadlines Will Not Be Met
The war in Libya makes it impossible for that country to meet the deadlines of May 15 to destroy its cache of mustard gas and December 31 to eliminate its precursor agents, as requested by the Chemical Weapons Convention. Japan’s nuclear and environmental disasters might further delay efforts to complete its obligations to dispose of the chemical munitions in China. The U.S. and Russia are also unlikely to meet the 2012 deadline for eliminating their respective stockpiles of chemical warfare materials. As of end of April 2011, the U.S. has destroyed about 86% of the warfare agents it held when the treaty entered into force in 1997, while Russia had destroyed about 49% of its stockpile as of February 2011, according to authoritative sources. Meanwhile, potential old chemical weapons stockpiles left at former U.S. bases in South Korea were revealed. [Related item: Chemical Weapons Convention Gets New Boost in April 2008 report.]
Sources:
Libya Fails to Destroy Mustard Agent by Treaty Deadline http://gsn.nti.org/gsn/nw_20110518_7424.php
One Year to U.S, Russian Chemical Weapons Disposal Deadline http://gsn.nti.org/gsn/nw_20110429_2863.php
South Korea probes second report of US army chemical dumping http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/25/us-korea-usa-idUSTRE74O3U420110525

Large Scale Cadmium Ban under EU REACH from December 2011
The European Commission has banned cadmium use in all jewelry products, plastics, and brazing sticks from December 2011. The new legislation also promotes the recovery of PVC waste and reuse of recovered PVC containing low levels of cadmium in a limited number of construction products, which should be specifically labeled. [Related items: The Protocol on Heavy Metals entered into force on 29 December 2003 in October 2003 and EU to Ban the use of Cadmium in Batteries in December 2004 reports.]
Source:
Chemicals/REACH: EU to ban cadmium in jewellery, brazing sticks and all plastics http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/11/620&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en

Arctic Governance Mechanisms Continue to Grow
The Seventh Ministerial Meeting of the Arctic Council was held on 12 May 2011, in Nuuk, Greenland, and concluded with the adoption of the Agreement on Cooperation on Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue in the Arctic. This is the first legally binding agreement negotiated by the Council. The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme released the report Snow, Water, Ice, and Permafrost in the Arctic, during the meeting. It summarizes the results of a multi-year study contributed to by experts of all eight Arctic states. It notes that the period 2005-2010 has been the warmest ever recorded in the region. Permafrost temperatures have risen by up to 2ºC (3.6ºF) over the last few decades, and the largest bodies of multi-year ice have all been declining faster since 2000 compared to the previous decade. [Related items: Arctic Dialogue in September 2010 and other previous reports.]
Sources:
Arctic Council Ministers Sign Agreement in Nuuk http://arctic-council.org/article/2011/5/arctic_council_ministers_sign_agreement
Warming Arctic Nations Agree on Search and Rescue, Oil Spill Task Force http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/may2011/2011-05-12-03.html

Climate Change
Scientific Evidence and Natural Disasters
The Center for Research for Epidemiology of Disasters notes that disasters have already caused more than $300 billion in losses so far this year, almost the same as in all of 2010.
NOAA predicts with a 70% probability an above-normal hurricane season this year for the Atlantic basin, with 3‑6 major hurricanes of Category 3, 4 or 5 with winds of 111 miles per hour or higher.
Food and Water Security
One-third of the food produced for human consumption in the world each year is lost or wasted, with consumers in rich countries wasting about 222 million metric tons of food—about the same as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan
Africa, notes the study Global Food Losses and Food Waste, done at FAO’s request. While in industrialized countries over 40% of losses occur at retail and consumer levels, in developing countries 40% of losses occur at post-harvest and processing levels.
The UNDP Regional Director for Asia and Pacific noted that the recent food price increase could push 64 million people into extreme poverty and the challenge could be further compounded by climate change and other natural disasters.
The Samsung Economic Research Institute report New Food Security Strategies in the Age of Global Food Crises calls for the South Korean government to secure foreign bases for food production through overseas agricultural development. Today, some 60 South Korean companies are involved in farming in 16 countries. Simultaneously, the China Investment Corporation, China’s sovereign wealth fund, reportedly set aside about $6 billion to invest in New Zealand assets, including dairy farms.
India, home of about 25% of the world’s undernourished, proposes a draft National Food Security Bill which guarantees 7 kg of food grain to every person in the 'priority' households (to be selected from the poorest 46% in rural areas and 26% in urban areas) and 3 kg to individuals from 'general' households every month at subsidized prices. The bill is also unique in giving adult women heads of household access to rice, wheat and cereals with ration cards.
British risk analysis firm Maplecroft has recently released their 2011 Water Stress Index, which calculates the ratio of domestic, industrial and agricultural water consumption against renewable supplies of water from precipitation, rivers, and groundwater. The results reinforce that Africa and the Middle East, especially those countries on the Persian-Arabian Gulf, are most vulnerable to serious water shortages, increasing the likelihood of resource-based conflicts in these areas.
Rising Sea Levels
A new report by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme predicts that by 2100, sea level could rise 0.9‑1.6 meters, much depending on the rate of melting of the Arctic and Greenland’s ice sheets.
Adaptation
Over 2,600 delegates attended the Third Session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) held May 9-13, 2011, in Geneva, Switzerland, under the theme “Invest Today for a Safer Tomorrow.” The UN Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction 2011, launched during the session, notes that the amount of global wealth exposed to natural disasters risk had nearly tripled from $525.7 billion 40 years ago to $1.58 trillion today. The risk of economic losses in OECD countries due to floods has increased by 160% and for tropical cyclones by 262% over the past 30 years. During the session, the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted that for every $1 invested in resilience and prevention, $4-$7 are saved in response.
Computer Modeling and Projections
Population Action International launched an interactive website, ”Mapping Population and Climate Change,” which allows users to generate maps using a variety of variables to see how global challenges such as climate change, population growth, water scarcity, and changes in agricultural production might relate over time.
Sources:
Economic losses from disasters on rise, U.N. warns http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/10/disasters-un-idUSLDE7481R520110510
NOAA: Prepare Now for an 'Above-Normal' Atlantic Hurricane Season http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/may2011/2011-05-25-093.html
Cutting food waste to feed the world. Over a billion tonnes squandered each year http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/74192/icode/
South Korea's food security alarm http://farmlandgrab.org/post/view/18525
China's sovereign wealth fund ready to spend $6b in NZ http://farmlandgrab.org/post/view/18675
Food security related statistics for India http://palakmathur.wordpress.com/2011/04/26/food-security-related-statistics-for-india/
Maplecroft index identifies Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia as world’s most water stressed countries http://www.maplecroft.com/about/news/water_stress_index.html
Report sees sharper sea rise from Arctic melt http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110503/ap_on_sc/eu_arctic_climate_change
Global Platform Website http://www.preventionweb.net/globalplatform/2011/
Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction 2011 http://www.preventionweb.net/english/hyogo/gar/2011/en/home/index.html
Mapping Population and Climate Change http://www.populationaction.org/Publications/Interactive_Databases/climate_map.shtml

Nanotechnology Safety Issues
ISO Publishes Standard for Nanomaterial Risk Evaluation
The International Organization for Standardization has published ISO/TR 13121:2011 Nanomaterial risk evaluation (58 pp.). It "describes a process for identifying, evaluating, addressing, making decisions about, and communicating the potential risks of developing and using manufactured nanomaterials", as well as offering guidance on how to handle the problems of uncertain information, updating and communicating information, and transparency and accountability.
Sources:
ISO/TR 13121:2011 Nanotechnologies -- Nanomaterial risk evaluation http://www.iso.org/iso/catalogue_detail.htm?csnumber=52976&utm_source=ISO&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=Catalogue
ISO Publishes Standard for Nanomaterial Risk Evaluation http://nanotech.lawbc.com/2011/05/articles/legalregulatory-issues/iso-publishes-standard-for-nanomaterial-risk-evaluation/

EPA Issues Significant New Use Rule for Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes
EPA is issuing a significant new use rule (SNUR), under the Toxic Substances Control Act, for multi-walled carbon nanotubes, the subject of a premanufacture notice (PMN) P-08-199. It requires their manufacture, import, or processing to be notified to the Agency in advance.
Sources:
SNUR under the Toxic Substances Control Act http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-05-06/pdf/2011-11127.pdf
EPA issues a significant new use rule for multi-walled carbon nanotubes http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=21263.php

UCSF Publishes Recommendations for Addressing Nanomaterial Health Risk
The University of California, San Francisco’s (UCSF) Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment has announced the publication of its Recommendations for Addressing Potential Health Risks from Nanomaterials in California. It provides recommendations to the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) and to the state of California for addressing potential health risks from nanomaterials. Recommendations are included that are both inside and outside the scope of OEHHA
Sources:
Summary of Policy Recommendations for Addressing Potential Health Risks from Nanomaterials in California http://prhe.ucsf.edu/prhe/nanodocument.html
UCSF's Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment Publishes Recommendations for Addressing Health Risks from Nanomaterials in California http://nanotech.lawbc.com/2011/05/articles/united-states/state/ucsfs-program-on-reproductive-health-and-the-environment-publishes-recommendations-for-addressing-health-risks-from-nanomaterials-in-california/

EU Food Safety Authority Publishes Guidance for Risk Assessment of Nanofood
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published a guidance document for the risk assessment of engineered nanomaterial (ENM) applications in food and feed. According to Nanowerk News, it specifies the considerations for risk assessment of ENM, defines the additional data needed for its physical and chemical characterization, and outlines various toxicity testing approaches to be followed by applicants.
Sources:
Guidance on the risk assessment of the application of nanoscience and nanotechnologies in the food and feed chain http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/doc/2140.pdf
European Food Safety Authority publishes nanotechnology guidance for food and feed assessment http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=21308.php

New Dutch Safety Guidance Document for Nanomaterials Workers
The Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment has released a new document (17 pp.), Guidance on Working Safely with Nanomaterials and Nanoproducts, the Guide for Employers and Employees. It attempts to support workers "in their design of suitable control measures to organize a safe workplace according to the current state of knowledge on health and safety issues of nanomaterials" and aims for "more general awareness raising on nano-risks".
Sources:
Guidance Working Safely With Nanomaterials and Nanoproducts. The Guide for Employers and Employees http://www.industox.nl/Guidance%20on%20safe%20handling%20nanomats&products.pdf
New safety guidance document for employers and employees working with nanomaterials http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=21454.php

OECD Review of the Safety of Manufactured Nanomaterials
According to Nanowerk News, the OECD’s new Current Developments/Activities on the Safety of Manufactured Nanomaterials provides a summary of information on current and planned activities related to the safety of manufactured nanomaterials in OECD member countries as well as other states. There are also reports on current activities from other international organizations such as ISO, FAO and WHO.
Sources:
OECD review: Current developments/activities on the safety of manufactured nanomaterials http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=21512.php
Environment Directorate Joint Meeting of the Chemicals Committee and the Working Party on Chemicals, Pesticides and Biotechnology http://www.oecd.org/officialdocuments/displaydocumentpdf/?cote=env/jm/mono%282011%2912&doclanguage=en

Some Confirmation of Deleterious Effects of Soil Nanoparticles
A field study by scientists of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has confirmed the predicted harmful effects on plants of TiO2 and ZnO nanoparticles in the soil. The biomass of wheat was reduced 7-13%, and the particles appeared in the plant growth. No final conclusions can be drawn from the study, however, since the concentrations of the particles in the soil were higher than would be encountered in real nanomaterial usage, aside from an environmental spill. [Related item: Silver Nanoparticles Found Very Toxic to Arctic Soils in the April 2011 report.]
Sources:
TiO2 and ZnO nanoparticles negatively affect wheat growth and soil enzyme activities in agricultural soil http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2011/em/c0em00611d
Escaped nanoparticles hazardous to crops, says study http://www.scidev.net/en/news/escaped-nanoparticles-hazardous-to-crops-says-study.html

Studies Raise Questions on Nanomaterial Manufacturing Reliability
A brief article summarizes various studies that are raising questions about the ability of current nanomaterial manufacturing processes to reliably produce materials with specified physical and chemical characteristics; i.e., those needed for environmental safety. The problem arises because of the use of "macro-sized" methods to produce “nano-sized” components.
Sources:
Nanotech industry comes under fire http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/45929
Intrinsic top-down unmanufacturability http://iopscience.iop.org/0957-4484/22/24/245303/

Assessing Nanoparticle Risks to Human Health
Assessing Nanoparticle Risks to Human Health to be published by ResearchandMarkets provides a systematic look at nanoparticle risks within the paradigm of risk assessment, considers the limitations of this paradigm in dealing with the extreme uncertainties regarding many aspects of nanoparticle exposure and toxicity, and suggests new methods for assessing and managing risks in this context. The book is available at an introductory reduced price before its planned release in September.
Source:
Assessing Nanoparticle Risks to Human Health http://www.researchandmarkets.com/product/5b558f79/assessing_nanoparticle_risks_to_human_health

5th International Nano Authorities Dialogue Held in Berlin
This meeting among representatives of German-speaking countries was held to discuss the results of NanoKommission Germany 2009-2011 as well as ongoing national and international developments in regulation, registration, and information transfer regarding nanomaterials. Topics mentioned in the brief released account of the meeting included regulatory tools, stakeholder dialogue, and product registers.
Source:
Information Transfer, Traceability and Product Registers for Nanoproducts – 5th Int. Nano Authorities Dialogue in Berlin http://www.innovationsgesellschaft.ch/index.php?section=news&cmd=details&newsid=469&teaserId=7&setLang=2

Reports and Information Suggested for Review

2011 Global Peace Index
The Global Peace Index uses 23 indicators to measure domestic and international conflict, safety and security in society, and militarization in 153 countries. The 2011 GPI shows the world’s peacefulness decreased for the third year in a row, mostly due to internal unrests rather than warfare between countries; the increase of likelihood of terrorist attacks increased in 29 of the 153 countries; and violent demonstrations increased in 33 countries. The cost of violence to the global economy is estimated to over $8.12 trillion in 2010.
Sources:
2011 Global Peace Index http://www.visionofhumanity.org/info-center/global-peace-index-2011/
2011 Global Peace Index Launch http://www.economicsandpeace.org/page.aspx?docid=5

Transnational Environmental Law (TEL)
The Transnational Environmental Law (TEL) journal published by Cambridge University Press is being launched with the online version of the first issue expected at the end of 2011, to be followed by its print publication in Spring 2012. TEL, “is a peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the study of environmental law and governance beyond the state.”
Source:
Transnational Environmental Law (TEL) http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayJournal?jid=TEL

Back to Top


April 2011

Gordon Brown Calls for Reform of Global Bodies to Address 21st Century Challenges, including Climate Change
UK former prime minister (and allegedly aspiring IMF Director) Gordon Brown said that global bodies, including the UN and the World Bank, should be reformed and adapted to the challenges of the 21st century, including those induced by climate change. He is calling for a new “global ethic” and international institutions with a greater democratic mandate, able to address environmental problems and economic and political structures that threaten to lead to mass migration, conflict, and terrorism. [Related item: UK Initiates UN Security Council Debate on Climate Change and Security in the April 2007 report.]
Source:
Gordon Brown calls for reform of global bodies including IMF and UN http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/apr/19/gordon-brown-reform-imf-un

Draft UN Treaty for “Rights of Mother Earth”
Bolivia is preparing a draft UN treaty on the Rights of Mother Earth, similar to that on human rights. The treaty aims to institute 11 rights protecting nature from human intervention, ranging from the right to clean water and air, to unaltered vital cycles and equilibrium, and the right of not being genetically modified. It builds upon President Morales’s proposal in January 2010 for an international court for environmental crimes and the “Rights of Mother Earth”, as well as a Bolivia-led UN resolution in 2009 that proclaimed April 22nd International Mother Earth Day
Sources:
Bolivia enshrines natural world’s rights with equal status for Mother Earth http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/apr/10/bolivia-enshrines-natural-worlds-rights
UN resolution looks to give “Mother Earth” same rights as humans http://www.nationalpost.com/m/story.html?id=4597992
UN Press Release (International Mother Earth Day 2011) http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=38157&Cr=sustainable+development&Cr1

International Database to Help Protect the Public and Environment in Conflicts
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has begun updating an online database of national practices related to customary international humanitarian law (unwritten rules derived from a general or common State practice generating a custom, which is regarded as legally binding). The database is being built by identifying national practices in military manuals, national legislation, case law, and official statements and reports. The first selection of 30 countries has been updated. Another 100 countries are expected to be available by mid-2012. The updates cover state rules relevant to a range of issues from the use of weapons to use of the environment in military operations. Since conflicts are increasingly more likely to be internal then transborder, customary law (rather than international treaties) becomes increasingly important for improving protection of the public and the environment in military operations. [Related item: International Guidance on the Treatment of Individuals in War May Eventually Guide International Standards on the Treatment of the Environment in War in June 2009 report.]
Sources:
Improving people's protection in war http://www.icrc.org/eng/resources/documents/news-release/2011/customary-law-news-2011-03-28.htm
Practice by country http://www.icrc.org/customary-ihl/eng/docs/v2_cou

Earthquake Monitoring and Models to aid Developing Country Policy
Several initiatives to improve environmental security in developing countries were presented during the annual meeting of the Seismological Society of America in Memphis, April 13–15. One was a draft guide for networks of seismological monitoring centers in developing countries to help reduce risks to humans and environment. The AfricaArray has 40 stations in 15 countries collecting seismic data. It is expected to expand its recording to weather and GPS data, which would help monitor groundwater levels and collect atmospheric data for improving climate modeling. The Earthquake Model of the Middle East Region (EMME) is expected to be finished by early 2013. It will offer an assessment of potential earthquake risks and damages.
Sources:
'How-to' guide will boost seismic networks in Africa http://www.scidev.net/en/news/-how-to-guide-will-boost-seismic-networks-in-africa.html
Earthquake model could help reduce risks in Middle East http://www.scidev.net/en/agriculture-and-environment/earth-science/news/earthquake-model-could-help-reduce-risks-in-middle-east-1.html
Chinese satellite seeks to predict earthquakes http://www.scidev.net/en/news/chinese-satellite-seeks-to-predict-earthquakes.html

Improving S&T Collaboration in Latin America and the Caribbean
The second high-level meeting on Science and Technology in Latin America was held in Guanajuato, Mexico, March 24‑25, 2011. Science ministers and representatives of 18 Latin American and Caribbean countries adopted a plan for pilot programs on climate change, energy and food security, and biodiversity issues. Other objectives are expected to be discussed at the third meeting, to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in March 2012. In the meantime, the European Union–Latin America and Caribbean Joint Initiative for Research and Innovation held its first meeting of senior officials from 20 Latin American and Caribbean countries and 12 European countries as well as of the European Commission and the European External Action Service in Brussels, March 28-29. In the framework of developing the EU-LAC Knowledge Area, participants agreed on three thematic working groups: bioeconomy including food security, biodiversity and climate change, and ICTs, and are exploring a possible fourth group on energy.
Sources:
Latin American countries join forces on innovation http://www.scidev.net/en/news/latin-american-countries-join-forces-on-innovation.html
Policy framework. Latin America, the Caribbean, the European Union’s Member States and the European Commission (EU-LAC/ALCUE) http://ec.europa.eu/research/iscp/index.cfm?lg=en&pg=latin-americ-carib-2

Potential Nightmare in Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria in New Delhi Water Supply
A team of researchers from Cardiff University has discovered New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase 1 (NDM-1)-producing bacteria in New Delhi’s water supply; reportedly, the first time found outside a hospital. NDM-1 is a gene enabling some types of bacteria to be resistant to a large variety of antibiotics, and has the ability to jump from one bacterium to another. Its transmission is dramatically increased in public water supply and open sewers. The NDM-1 gene was also found in Puna, India. The World Health Organization has described the spread of such ‘superbugs’ as a “nightmare scenario” and that it might return the world to the pre-penicillin era. However, PolyMedix, Inc. claims its drug, PMX-30063, “has shown activity in an in vitro laboratory test against the NDM-1 drug resistant strain of Klebsiella pneumonia.”
Sources:
Dissemination of NDM-1 positive bacteria in the New Delhi environment and its implications for human health: an environmental point prevalence study http://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(11)70059-7/abstract
UK could face a 'nightmare scenario' due to rise of superbugs http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23939284-uk-could-face-a-nightmare-scenario-due-to-rise-of-superbugs.do
PolyMedix Defensin-Mimetic Antibiotic PMX-30063 Active Against NDM-1 Drug-Resistant Bacteria http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20110428005220/en/PolyMedix-Defensin-Mimetic-Antibiotic-PMX-30063-Active-NDM-1-Drug-Resistant

Conferences Reflect Increasing International Efforts to Prevent the Militarization of Space
As the world marked the 50th anniversary of Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s first manned flight into outer space, and the retiring of the U.S. space shuttle program, dual conferences hosted at the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research focused on space-security. Both were largely dedicated to debating the need for international instruments to prevent the weaponization of space. While the Russian Duma released a statement warning against the use of space-based WMDs, some conference attendees went further, calling for the existing definition of ‘space weapons’ to be broadened from strictly WMDs, to include conventional armaments and acts that interfere with other space objects. International consensus is converging around a Russian-led initiative to elicit concrete proposals for Transparency and Confidence Building Measures (TCBMs), which some consider an intermediary step toward a more comprehensive and verifiable international treaty. Moscow has called upon the UN Secretary-General to establish an international consortium of governmental experts to study the issue commencing in 2012. China, by contrast, issued a white paper on March 31, 2011, “China’s National Defense in 2010,” as a comprehensive public statement of its defense posture. In it, Beijing asserts that TCMBs do not substitute for a non-weaponization treaty and called for a more stringent and enforceable international regime. In the meantime, the People’s Republic unveiled plans to build a 60-ton space station to be completed in 2020 and to develop a cargo spaceship to transport supplies. Pakistan also declared space security an “imperative” saying the militarization of space must be prevented. Additionally, civil society activists, NGOs, and other advocacy groups have begun to take up the cause of space security and are attempting to reframe the debate away from traditional military aspects and focus, instead, on implications for human security and development.
Sources:
UNIDIR seminar on The Conference on Disarmament and the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space http://www.unidir.ch/bdd/fiche-activite.php?ref_activite=59
UNIDIR annual conference on space security http://www.unidir.ch/bdd/fiche-activite.php?ref_activite=599
Countdown begins for space station program http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2011-04/26/content_12393158.htm
Russian Lawmakers to Warn Against Space-Based WMD http://gsn.nti.org/gsn/nw_20110411_2563.php

Technological Advances with Environmental Security Implications

New Coating Detects and Deactivates Peroxide-based Explosives

A team led by Prof. Allen Apblett of the Dept. of Chemistry, Oklahoma State Univ., has reported on the development of a spray-on coating that changes color and conductivity in the presence of vapors (as low as 50 ppm) from peroxide-based explosives, such as the triacetone triperoxide (TATP) liquids favored by terrorists posing as aircraft passengers. The material, which contains molybdenum oxide nanoparticles, also neutralizes the explosive.
Source:
New nanomaterial can detect and neutralize explosives http://portal.acs.org/portal/PublicWebSite/pressroom/newsreleases/CNBP_026970

Battery-less Chemical Detector
Lawrence Livermore Laboratory researcher Yinmin “Morris” Wang and colleagues and collaborators have developed a chemical sensor technology in which semiconductor nanowire structures develop characteristic output voltages when exposed to organic chemical reagents, thereby eliminating the need for batteries in a sensing device. Testing has been done with 15 different types of solvents.
Source:
Livermore researchers develop battery-less chemical detector https://www.llnl.gov/news/newsreleases/2011/Apr/NR-11-04-02.html

Potable Water Purification Techniques
Jonathan Liow, now a Product Designer at Kincrome Australia Pty Ltd, Victoria, Australia, has developed an ingenious plastic device, which uses sunlight to evaporate water from any source. He then collects the condensed contaminant-free vapor in a container, for drinking or other use. The unit is reportedly capable of producing 3 liters of potable water per day.
Prof. Joel Pawlak, of the Dept. of Forest Biomaterials at NC State Univ., and colleagues have reported on the development of a foam product that removes contaminants such as heavy metals or salt from water. According to an announcement, the material is, “…a combination of hemicellulose, a byproduct of forest materials, and chitosan, crustacean shells that have been crushed into a powder”.
Sources:
Student-designed Solarball creates drinkable water http://www.gizmag.com/solarball-creates-drinkable-water/18270/
NC State Develops Material To Remove Radioactive Contaminants From Drinking Water http://news.ncsu.edu/releases/cbpawlakwater/

New Battery Runs on Saline and Fresh Waters
Researchers, led by Dr. Yi Cui of Stanford Univ., have announced the development of a battery that generates electricity from the imbalance of salinity in fresh water and seawater, such as can be found at river mouths. The unit is based on nanorod electrodes, one silver, containing Cl-1 ions, and one of manganese dioxide, containing Na+1 ions. Their design, by eliminating membranes, improves costs compared to previous devices.
Sources:
New entropy battery pulls energy from difference in salinity between fresh water and seawater http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-03-entropy-battery-energy-difference-salinity.html
Batteries for Efficient Energy Extraction from a Water Salinity Difference http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/nl200500s

New Modeling Tool Provides Urban Air Quality Prediction
A recent paper reports on a new technique for comparing and predicting air quality in cities (Helsinki and Thessaloniki were studied). The study combines principal component analysis and artificial neural networks to analyze atmospheric data (e.g., particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, and ozone) and to make air quality predictions. The study is funded by the European Seventh Framework Programme (EU FP7) under the COST ES0602 and TRANSPHORM projects, while the modeling tool should support enforcing the Clean Air for Europe (CAFE) initiative and directive.
Source:
Improved prediction of urban air quality through ‘neural’ networks http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/236na5.pdf

Updates on Previously Identified Issues

Climate Change
Scientific Evidence and Natural Disasters
The oceans capture around 30% of CO2 emissions, therefore apparently slowing global warming caused by GHGs. However, as temperatures rise and the world’s oceans warm, CO2 might bubble back into the atmosphere, amplifying the greenhouse effect. A new study based on climate records from the end of the last ice age found that this phenomenon is likely to begin in 200 years or even less, compared to 400‑1300 years as previously thought, says Tas van Ommen from the Australian Antarctic Division, in Hobart, who led the study. Food and Water Security
“Food security is becoming more and more also an issue of national security," says Franz Fischler, former EU agriculture commissioner and candidate to head FAO.
The FAO calls for food security to be included as an indicator of vulnerability to climate change and for the global adaptation architecture to have a greater emphasis on slow-onset impacts of climate change. The submission to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat highlights the impacts of slow-onset climate change on food production. It also highlights the need for climate-resilient staple food varieties to be developed and for the collection and sharing of plant genetic materials, while at the same time respecting breeders' and farmers' rights. The submission will be considered by the 14th session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA 14).
Food prices in Asia have increased an average of about 10% already in this calendar year. If prices remain at current levels, an additional 64 million people could be pushed below the poverty income threshold of $1.25 per person a day, warns the Asian Development Bank (ADB). ADB also notes that economic growth in the region could be reduced by up to 1.5% should the global food and oil price hikes seen in early 2011 persist for the remainder of the year.
The availability of phosphorus and nitrogen fertilizers needed for sustained commercial agriculture is threatened by steadily diminishing resources of natural gas and phosphate rock. A recent study suggests that to secure a long-term affordable food supply, policy intervention is needed to conserve these essential resources. Experts warn that access problems or shortages of these resources may lead to future conflicts. Although reserves of phosphate rock are thought to be available for another 300‑400 years, alternatives and regulations concerning their ownership and use should be considered, suggests a study on fertilizers’ availability.
Migration
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that the total number of refugees worldwide at the end of 2009 was 15.2 million, while the total number of people displaced (including within their own countries) was about 43.3 million. It turned out that the forecast of 50 million climate refugees by 2010 was a high overestimate. Hence, the prediction by Professor Myers of the up to 200 million people potentially uprooted by climate change by 2050 is also questioned. However, new long-term forecasts are not yet available, since behavior and demographic patterns are still being studied. A Humanitarian Emergency Response Review estimates that around 375 million people will be affected by climate-related disasters every year by 2015 and many more by other ‘rapid onset’ emergencies and the impact of conflicts.
The Social Conflict in Africa Database (SCAD) launched by the Climate Change and African Political Stability program aims to help researchers and policymakers assess conflict patterns and intervention strategies. It includes over 6,300 social conflict events from the period 1990‑2009 with details on the, “…location, timing, and magnitude of the events, as well as the actors, targets, issues of contention, and government response.” The pattern shows more social conflicts in years that were extremely wet or dry than in years of normal rainfall.
Adaptation
"Boots on the Ground" is a new initiative of UNDP to train Least Developed Country leaders in climate-resilient development. Along the same lines, the UN report “Compact for Inclusive Growth and Prosperity” finds that in order to close the gap between LDCs and the rest of the world, structural limitations of LDCs must be addressed. It outlines objectives and targets for a new Programme of Action, including Small Island developing States and climate change.
The African Working Group on Disaster Risk Reduction, the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, and the African Union agreed to accelerate implementation of the extended program of action for the implementation of the Africa Regional Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction (2006-2015), in line with the Hyogo Framework for Action. The extended program of action covers emerging trends and challenges, linking disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.
Negotiations for a Post-Kyoto GHG-emissions Reduction Treaty
Delegates at the Climate Change talks held in Bangkok, Thailand, April 3-8, 2011, adopted an agenda and organization of work for 2011, to enable the Ad Hoc Working Groups to exercise their mandates in preparing the COP 17, to be held in December 2011, in Durban, South Africa.
China’s chief negotiator to UN climate change talks said that his country is drafting a special law dedicated to climate change suitable for China. Similarly, India’s Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh said that actions taken domestically and internationally should be “delinked.” He underlined that environmental security is important due to domestic concerns rather than growing international pressures, and noted, “…there are environmental laws and legislations in the country but the onus is on the corporate sector to adhere to them”, and, “while growth brings development at the macro level, it incurs costs at the micro level”.
Sources:
Warmer oceans release CO2 faster than thought http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn20413-warmer-oceans-release-co2-faster-than-thought.html
Food security key to global peace: FAO candidate http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/04/26/us-usa-fao-chief-idUSTRE73P7I120110426
Soaring Food Prices Again Threaten to Push Millions of Asians into Poverty – ADB http://www.adb.org/Media/Articles/2011/13534-asian-food-prices/
Fertiliser resource limitations: recycling for food security http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/236na2.pdf
The origins of the 50 million climate refugees prediction http://asiancorrespondent.com/53023/the-origins-of-the-50-million-climate-refugees-prediction/
Humanitarian Emergency Response Review http://www.dfid.gov.uk/emergency-response-review
Social Conflict in Africa Database: www.scaddata.org
UNDP Project Builds Capacity of Climate Policy Advisors in LDCs http://climate-l.iisd.org/news/undp-project-builds-capacity-of-climate-policy-advisors-in-ldcs/
African Working Group agrees to implement the Strategy for disaster risk reduction http://www.unisdr.org/news/v.php?id=18754
Summary of the Bangkok Climate Talks. 3-8 APRIL 2011 http://www.iisd.ca/vol12/enb12499e.html
China drafting special law on climate change: official http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2011-04/27/c_13847244.htm
Environment not a cost but intrinsic to biz: Ramesh http://www.indianexpress.com/news/environment-not-a-cost-but-intrinsic-to-biz/773956/

Arctic Ozone Depletion Highest on Record
Ozone loss over the Arctic has reached a record 40% from the beginning of the winter to late March 2011, reveals a UNEP-WMO Ozone depletion assessment. Continuing presence of ozone-depleting substances in Earth’s atmosphere and extremely cold temperatures in the stratosphere are the main causes, says the WMO. Although this winter the Arctic was warmer than average at ground level, it was colder in the stratosphere than in a normal Arctic winter. The European Space Agency (ESA) also announced that its Envisat satellite has measured record low levels of ozone over the Euro-Atlantic area during March. The Eighth Meeting of the Ozone Research Managers of the Parties to the Vienna Convention for reviewing ongoing national and international research and monitoring programmes to ensure the proper coordination of these programmes and to identify gaps that need to be addressed will occur May 2‑4, 2011, in Geneva, Switzerland. [Related item: More Aggressive Action Needed to Curb Ozone Depletions in January 2011 report.]
Sources:
First North Pole Ozone Hole Forming? http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/03/110321-ozone-layer-hole-arctic-north-pole-science-environment-uv-sunscreen/
Revealing the hole truth on our wacky weather http://www.smh.com.au/national/revealing-the-hole-truth-on-our-wacky-weather-20110422-1drgo.html
Record loss of ozone over Arctic http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEMIF24SZLG_index_0.html
Eighth Meeting of the Ozone Research Managers of the Parties to the Vienna Convention http://climate-l.iisd.org/events/eighth-meeting-of-the-ozone-research-managers-of-the-parties-to-the-vienna-convention/

New Chemicals to Be Added to Stockholm and Rotterdam Conventions
The fifth Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants was held in Geneva, Switzerland, April 25-29, 2011. It considered numerous issues including: adding endosulfan to Annex A of the Convention; polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) elimination; exemptions, effectiveness evaluation, and non-compliance issues; unintentionally released POPs reduction; and information exchange and reporting.
The seventh meeting of the Rotterdam Convention Chemical Review Committee, held in Rome, Italy, March 28-April 1, 2011, recommended inclusion in the Rotterdam Convention’s Prior Informed Consent procedure of two pesticides (endosulfan and azinphos methyl), one severely hazardous pesticide formulation (Gramoxone Super), as well as three industrial chemicals: perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), its salts and precursors; pentaBDE commercial mixtures; and octaBDE commercial mixtures. The three industrial chemicals were recently included in the Stockholm Convention, thus improving the consistency of the two treaties’ requirements. [Related item: First Joint Meeting of the Main Conventions on Hazardous Chemicals to Improve International Environmental Governance in February 2010 report].
Sources:
Fifth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP5) to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) http://www.iisd.ca/chemical/pops/cop5/
Rotterdam Convention Chemical Review Committee Recommends Listing of Three Chemicals http://uncsd.iisd.org/news/rotterdam-convention-chemical-review-committee-recommends-listing-of-three-chemicals/

The Offshore and Integrated Coastal Zone Management Protocols of the Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean Entered into Force in March 2011
The Protocols aim to protect the Mediterranean Sea from impacts of offshore and coastal exploration and exploitation, as well as to create a framework for assistance in cases of emergency. [Related item: New Construction on Mediterranean Coastlines to be Banned in January 2008 report.]
Source:
Legal Instruments reducing risks from offshore exploration activities and protecting the Mediterranean coasts’ degradation enter into force today http://www.unepmap.org/index.php?module=news&action=detail&id=110

Kenyan Government Requests Assistance with Refugees
Kenya’s Internal Security Permanent Secretary Francis Kimemia has warned that refugee facilities in the northeast of his country are overstretched, posing both an environmental and security threat. Kimemia stated that up to 500 Somali refugees enter Kenya every day and asked the UN to investigate securing space inside Somalia for refugee centers. Kimemia also expressed concern that some refugees are terror suspects posing a challenge to the Kenyan’s undermanned and porous border. [Related item: Food and Water Security in March 2011 and other similar items in previous environmental security reports.]
Source:
Refugee-burdened Kenya wants UN camps in Somalia http://insidesomalia.org/201104203119/News/Human-Rights/Refugee-burdened-Kenya-wants-UN-camps-in-Somalia.html

China’s Energy Needs Influence Foreign Policy
In the Asia-Pacific region and the South China Sea, tensions among China, Japan, and Southeast Asian nations is increasing because of conflicting interpretations of what constitutes territorial and international waters. China’s energy needs are beginning to influence how it is dealing with contested land claims over islands in the East and South China Seas. Hotly contesting are the foreign claims of ownership of the Spratly and Paracel Islands in the South and the Diayou/Senkaku Islands in the East. Although merely rock outcrops breaking the surface of the sea, the political importance of these islands is growing due to the potentially large deposits of oil in the seabed around them. According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, China’s sovereign control over these islands is indisputable and any exploration of the areas for gas and oil, without the permission of the Chinese government, constitutes a violation of China’s sovereignty and would be considered a threat to Chinese interests. [Related item: Arctic and South China Sea Resource Issues Causing U.S. to Review Law of the Sea in October 2010 report.]
Sources:
China’s Maritime Disputes Fueled by Need for Energy http://www.voanews.com/english/news/asia/east-pacific/Chinas-Maritime-Disputes-Fueled-by-Need-for-Energy-119589449.html
China to become world's biggest energy consumer http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/business/2011-04/14/content_12323503.htm
Statement of Admiral Robert F. Willard, U.S. Navy commander, U.S. Pacific Command before the Senate Armed Services Committee on U.S. Pacific Command Posture 12 April 2011 http://armed-services.senate.gov/statemnt/2011/04%20April/Willard%2004-12-11.pdf

Cyber-WMD Dangers Increasing, While Regulations Still Missing
The In the Dark: Crucial Industries Confront Cyberattacks report by McAfee and the Center for Security and International Studies documents that the world is unprepared to deal with cyber threats. Based on a survey of 200 IT security executives in 14 countries, it documents the gap between threats and security readiness. It discusses cyberattacks by governments and crime groups and potential impacts on vital infrastructure systems, as well as cyber extortion and other cyber crimes. While the dangers increase, international and national regulations and preparedness are lacking. [Related items: NATO Continues to Develop Cyber Defense Policies in January 2011 and other items on this issue in previous environmental security reports.]
Sources:
In the Dark: Crucial Industries Confront Cyberattacks http://www.mcafee.com/us/resources/reports/rp-critical-infrastructure-protection.pdf
West is at Mercy of Stuxnet, German Analyst Hints http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/143699

Nanotechnology Safety Issues

WHO Preparing Guidelines for Protecting Nanoworkers’ Health
According to an announcement, “To address occupational risks of nanomaterials, WHO [the World Health Organization] is developing Guidelines to 'Protecting Workers from Potential Risks of Manufactured Nanomaterials' (WHO/NANOH). These Guidelines aim to facilitate improvements in occupational health and safety of workers potentially exposed to nanomaterials in a broad range of manufacturing and social environments. The guidelines will incorporate elements of risk assessment and risk management and contextual issues.”
Source:
WHO Guidelines on Nanomaterials and Worker's Health http://www.who.int/occupational_health/topics/nanotechnologies/en/

NanoCode Publishes Stakeholder Survey on EU Code of Conduct for Research
NanoCode, an EU FP7 project, has published a Synthesis Report on its Stakeholder Survey on the opinions of the interested parties about the European Code of Conduct for Responsible Nanosciences and Nanotechnologies Research (EU-CoC). According to Nanowerk News, its results, “…give insights into stakeholder’s patterns of awareness, their expectations, attitudes and appraisals… [and it] analyses the degree of compliance and commitment, identifies recommendations for the communication, possible incentives, disincentives and monitoring of the EU-CoC.” There was a high level of agreement with the EU-CoC but a very low level of adoption (20%) in practice in their organizations.
Source:
NanoCode publishes synthesis report of stakeholder survey on EU Code of Conduct http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=20944.php
European Code of Conduct for Responsible Nanosciences and Nanotechnologies Research http://www.nanocode.eu/files/reports/nanocode/nanocode-consultation-synthesis-report.pdf

New Lab Safety Guide from National Research Council Adds Nanotechnology
The National Research Council has issued a new edition of Prudent Practices in the Laboratory, its reference guide for the safe handling, storage, and disposal of hazardous chemicals; the new version adds handling of nanomaterials as a topic.
Source:
Guidelines for Working With Hazardous Chemicals Released http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=12654

US/EU Workshop Discusses Coordinated Strategies on Engineered Nanoparticles
A two-day US/EU workshop resulted in the recognition of a need to coordinate nanotechnology research strategies to answer key questions about engineered nanoparticles (NP). Examples were: are workers exposed to NPs; are NPs released into the environment, and if so, are they harmful; and what are techniques for measuring NP concentrations in various media, such as soil and water. One speaker suggested introducing for nanoparticles a category system similar to the one in existence for pharmaceuticals. Proceedings will be available on-line later in the year; a useful summary is provided in the first newspaper article cited in the Sources
Sources:
First, Cooperation. Next, Nano Action? http://newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/first_cooperation._next_nano_action/
Consultant: Nano Products Need Risk “Categories” http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/nano-categories_as_a_safety_stopgap/id_34929

European Center Does Basic Risk Assessments For Four Types Of Nanomaterials: Scientists from the Institute for Health and Consumer Protection (IHCP) of the EC's Joint Research Centre (JRC) have performed basic risk assessments for four types of nanomaterials: fullerenes, carbon nanotubes, nanosilver, and metal-oxides. They used REACH methodology and based work on a review of the health and environmental safety concerns of these specific nanomaterials, as laid out in the ENRHES Final Report, Engineered Nanoparticles - Review of Health and Environmental Safety. The results are summarized: "The results of the studies show that the main risk for human health may arise from chronic occupational inhalation exposure, especially during activities of high particle release and uncontrolled exposure."
Sources:
JRC contributes to risk assessment of selected engineered nanomaterials to human health and the environment. Lessons learned from four case studies http://ihcp.jrc.ec.europa.eu/our_activities/nanotechnology/jrc-ihcp-health-safety-results-nanomaterials
Engineered Nanoparticles - Review of Health and Environmental Safety-- Final Report http://ihcp.jrc.ec.europa.eu/whats-new/enhres-final-report

German Agency Continues Negative View of Nanosilver in Consumer Goods
A recent German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) workshop has confirmed the earlier view that there is insufficient reliable data on nanosilver toxicity to recommend allowing its broad use in consumer products.
Source:
Safety of Nano Silver in Consumer Products: Many Questions Remain Open http://www.bfr.bund.de/en/press_information/2011/10/safety_of_nano_silver_in_consumer_products__many_questions_remain_open-70234.html

Silver Nanoparticles Found Very Toxic to Arctic Soils
Prof. Virginia Walker of the Dept. of Biology at Queen's Univ., Kingston ON, Canada, and colleagues have carried out a study showing that nanoparticles may have irreparably damaging effects on soil systems and the environment. Analysis of an Arctic soil sample six months after the addition of silver nanoparticles showed negligible quantities of an important nitrogen-fixing microbe remaining.
Source:
Common nanoparticles found to be highly toxic to Arctic ecosystem http://www.queensu.ca/news/articles/common-nanoparticles-found-be-highly-toxic-arctic-ecosystem

Nanomaterials Barred from “Organic” Products
According to Meridian Nanotechnology and Development News, “The United States National Organic Program (NOP) … [has] voted to accept the recommendation of the U.S. National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) to prohibit engineered nanomaterials from the production, processing and packaging of certified organic products.” A major basis for the decision was the lack of a definition for “nanomaterials”.
Source:
U.S. national organic program approves ban on engineered nanomaterials from organic products http://www.environmental-expert.com/resultEachArticle.aspx?cid=4280&codi=230184&lr=1

Very Low Levels of Gold Nanoparticles Cause Subcellular Damage in Fish
Researchers at the Univ. of Bordeaux have conducted tests on zebrafish that showed that daily ingestion of 36-106 ng of gold nanoparticles “resulted in various dysfunctions at the sub cellular scale, including alteration of genome composition, and the modulation of the expression of genes involved in DNA repair, detoxification processes, apoptosis, mitochondrial metabolism and oxidative stress”, according to Meridian Nanotechnology and Development News. Results varied with size, concentration and exposure time.
Source:
Impact of Dietary Gold Nanoparticles in Zebrafish at Very Low Contamination Pressure: The Role of Size, Concentration and Exposure Time http://sites.merid.org/ndn/more.php?articleID=3207

Public Perceives Low Nanotech Risk
A study conducted by Prof. David Berube, of NC State Univ. has indicated that the general public places nanoparticles at 20th place in a list of 24 possible environmental hazards to human health, ranking above only cell phones, blood transfusions, air travel, and X-rays.
Sources:
Comparing nanoparticle risk perceptions to other known EHS risks http://www.springerlink.com/content/324m53j140vj1236/
Public relatively unconcerned about nanotechnology risks http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=20974.php

Regulatory Definition for Nanomaterials not Needed, Yet, Believes Dr. Andrew Maynard
Dr. Andrew Maynard, formerly Science Advisor for the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies at the Woodrow Wilson Center and currently Director of the Risk Science Center at the Univ. of Michigan, has written an article setting forth his reasons for believing that there is no current need for a definition for nanomaterials, to be used in setting up regulations governing their safety. He argues that regulation should be evidence-based – driven by the possibility that any new material might pose a health risk, rather than by an arbitrary class definition, a definition which cannot be comfortably done now, considering the limited state of our knowledge on the relationship between material characteristics and effects.
Source:
Why We Don’t Need a Regulatory Definition for Nanomaterials http://sites.merid.org/ndn/more.php?articleID=3260

3rd ICPC Nanonet Annual Workshop To Be Held in St, Petersburg
The 3rd Nanonet Annual Workshop, sponsored by the EU FP7 project ICPC Nanonet, will be held in St, Petersburg, 24-25 May 2011, focusing on Nanotechnology for Biomedical and Ecological Applications. Registration for the Webcast and a DVD of the proceedings is available at http://www.icpc-nanonet.org/.
Source:
The Third ICPC Nanonet Annual Workshop takes place on 24th-25th May 2011 in St Petersberg, Russia www.icpc-nanonet.org

 

Reports and Information Suggested for Review

Energy Security and Environmental Change are the Main Drivers in Four Security Scenarios by the Canadian Military
Four alternative scenarios designed by a team from the Directorate of Land Concepts and Designs in the Canadian Forces show energy security and global environmental changes as the most unpredictable factors, although having the highest potential impact, for the future of society in general and for the role of Canada’s army specifically. The best-case scenario assumes that Canada would run a prosperous green economy, prioritizing clean energy and environmental protection, and that living standards would improve around the world. However, deteriorating energy security and inadequate addressing of climate change could trigger armed conflicts in parts of the world that are particularly vulnerable to these factors, underlines the research team leader Lt.-Col. Michael Rostek. The results are consistent with findings of recent studies by Royal Dutch Shell and countries such as the United Kingdom, which warn that excessive energy use can be an “Achilles heel.”
Sources:
Energy security and environmental change could radically alter society: military report http://www.globallethbridge.com/technology/Energy+security+environmental+change+could+radically+alter+society/4630821/story.html
Oil shortages and environmental decline could create 'global quagmire': military report http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/shortages+environmental+decline+could+create+global+quagmire+military+report/4630846/story.html

Critical Infrastructure for Ocean Research and Societal Needs in 2030
The National Research Council has published a report, Critical Infrastructure for Ocean Research and Societal Needs in 2030, that, “…identifies major research questions anticipated … in 2030, …, defines categories of infrastructure that should be included in planning, … provides advice on the criteria and processes that could be used to set priorities for the development of new ocean infrastructure or replacement of existing facilities, … [and] recommends ways in which the federal agencies can maximize the value of investments in ocean infrastructure.”
Source:
Critical Infrastructure for Ocean Research and Societal Needs in 2030 http://www.nap.edu/catalog/13081.html

Back to top


March 2011

Earthquakes, Tsunamis, and Nuclear Disasters in Japan
The world is still assessing the actual consequences and long-term impacts of the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan’s northeast coast on March 11, 2011. The 9 Mw earthquake and subsequent tsunami with waves of over 20 meters (66 ft) killed over 11,000 people; more than 16,000 are missing (as of March 29), and others might be displaced for a very long time. More than 300 aftershocks of 5 Mw or greater and numerous consequent phenomena such as soil liquefaction are further damaging infrastructure and threatening human security. The significant accidents are topped by the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, where three of the complex’s six units are believed to have partially melted down. Radioactive contamination continues to spread into the land, air, sea, and water down to the Tokyo metropolitan area, which is some 200 km away. The scale of the disaster (in a relatively well-prepared country) and the potential increase of number and intensity of natural disasters around the world due to climate change may reawaken some sections of the environmental movement and trigger important reexaminations regarding preparedness and resilience, as well as the management of nuclear and other hazardous material. be created to assess the most vulnerable and at-risk areas.
Sources:
Hayato Kobayashi, of The Millennium Project staff, reporting from Tokyo
Toxic plutonium seeping from Japan's nuclear plant http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory?id=13241596
Detection of radioactive material in the soil in Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/11032812-e.html
Leaders tell EU neighbours to stress-test nuclear plants http://euobserver.com/9/32067/?rk=1

Arab Post-Political Turmoil--a Time for Environmental Diplomacy
Environmental security led by water security will play an important role in establishing and maintaining stability in North Africa and the Middle East. Environmental diplomacy could be used to encourage closer cooperative relationships among the region’s countries and the rest of the world. Experts recommend that the UN Security Council could use ‘hydro-diplomacy’ to ease tensions over water issues in regions like the Middle East and North Africa. The UN estimates that 18 of the 30 water-scarce nations by 2025 will be in the Middle East and North Africa. The capital of Yemen is expected to run out of water much sooner. While water could exacerbate present turmoil in the region, it could also be used as a catalyst for peacebuilding. A similar argument was made by an editorial in SciDev Net, which suggests using current opportunities for a major push in ‘science diplomacy’ in today’s rapidly evolving Arab world.
Sources:
"Hydro-diplomacy" needed to avert Arab water wars http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/hydro-diplomacy-needed-to-avert-arab-water-wars
Countries experiencing water scarcity in 1955, 1990 and 2025 (projected) http://www.itt.com/waterbook/intl_scarcity.asp
Now is the time for science diplomacy in the Arab world http://www.scidev.net/en/editorials/now-is-the-time-for-science-diplomacy-in-the-arab-world.html

China’s 12th Five-Year Plan: From GDP to Sustainability
China’s National People’s Congress has adopted the 12th Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development for the period 2011-2015. Reportedly, the Plan focuses on fairer and greener development, switching the focus “from GDP quantity to sustainable quality.” The Plan outlines new environmental targets with focus on improving energy efficiency, conserving scarce resources, and improving air and water quality. During the five years, the proportion of renewables should grow to 11.4% of the country’s energy supply (from the current 8.3%), and energy intensity be reduced by 16% and CO2 emissions per GDP unit by 17% (meeting its Copenhagen commitments). A sharp rise in public security spending, which for the first time overtook the military budget, is aiming to reduce the rich-poor gap and the number of people living in poverty. [Related item: China is Now the Largest Energy Consumer in the World, in July 2010 report.]
Sources:
China adopts 5-year blueprint, aiming for fairer, greener growth http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2011-03/14/c_13777814.htm
China ready to quell disquiet over new environmental policies http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2011/mar/07/china-security-environment-policy
Beijing Boosts Priority of Environment in Development Plan http://ictsd.org/i/news/biores/101976/

Climate Adaptation, Development, and Peacebuilding Integrated Strategy
A Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars panel argued that adopting a ‘triple bottom line’ integrated approach of peacebuilding, development, and adaptation to climate change is the only potentially successful strategy for lasting peace and sustainable development in regions with political instability or armed conflict. The panel recommended increased strategic cooperation among the organizations that work in these areas. Similar are the findings of the UN-commissioned report Civilian Capacity in the Aftermath of Conflict: Independent Report of the Senior Advisory Group. The report was passed on to the UN Security Council and the General Assembly. Follow-up action will be coordinated by a Steering Group of the heads of relevant UN entities led by UN Under-Secretary-General for Field Support Susana Malcorra.
Sources:
Civilian Capacity in the Aftermath of Conflict: Independent Report of the Senior Advisory Group http://www.civcapreview.org/
Nimbler UN, global partners needed to build stability in post-conflict States – report http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=37700&Cr=post-conflict&Cr1=
Climate Adaptation, Development, and Peacebuilding in Fragile States: Finding the Triple-Bottom Line. Dan Smith, International Alert, and Alexander Carius, Adelphi Research http://www.wilsoncenter.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=events.event_summary&event_id=654210

New UN Office to Help Central African Nations with Peacebuilding
The UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) that opened in Libreville, Gabon, is a political office designed to support Central African nations’ efforts for peacebuilding and conflict prevention, as well as help with cross-border issues related to organized crime and arms trafficking. The UNOCA is a reflection of the UN’s focus on preventive diplomacy for avoiding conflict and follows the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA) and the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA).
Source:
UN opens office to help Central African nations consolidate peace, prevent conflict
http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=37663&Cr=central+africa&Cr1=

European Low-Carbon Roadmap to 2050
Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system, a white paper by the European Commission, outlines the roadmap for a low-carbon economy by 2050 in the EU. It sets targets by transportation sector, and includes measures aiming to dramatically cut Europe’s dependency on imported oil and reduce transport emissions by 60% by 2050. The main pillar is infrastructure development for creating a ‘Single European Transport Area’ by 2030, estimated at €1.5 billion (approx. $2 billion) to ensure an efficient transportation system across the continent. The 2050 objectives include: conventionally fuelled cars banned in cities by 2050 (50% reduction by 2030); aviation to increase low-carbon fuels use to 40%, and shipping to cut 40% from its carbon emissions. Measures refer to creating infrastructure for high-speed connection networks, expanding the EU’s Single European Sky program to the European Common Aviation Area of 58 countries by 2050, implementing intelligent fuel and transport management systems, and encouraging new engine technologies. The EC is now expected to put forward various legislative proposals to implement the 2050 transport strategy.
Sources:
Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system http://ec.europa.eu/transport/strategies/doc/2011_white_paper/white_paper_com%282011%29_144_en.pdf
Vision of an interconnected Europe http://ec.europa.eu/news/transport/110328_en.htm
Being ambitious. The European Commission maps a path to a low-carbon future. Now to walk it http://www.economist.com/node/18333149

European Commission Opens Study on Maritime Planning
The European Commission has posted a questionnaire for collecting expert and public opinion on the importance, potential implementation strategies, and challenges for improving EU maritime spatial planning (MSP) and integrated coastal zone management. The questions are formulated around the importance of such strategies in view of better collaboration among Member States, as well as with EU neighboring countries, cohesive data collection and management, improving sustainable economic growth, resilience to coastal risks and impacts of climate change, and environmental protection. Conclusions about potential further actions will be decided by the end of 2011. Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) under the Barcelona Convention for the Mediterranean is the first significant step towards developing such international legislation. [Related item: New Construction on Mediterranean Coastlines to be Banned in January 2008 report.]
Sources:
Commission seeks views on how to reduce pressure on Europe's coastal and marine areas http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/11/353&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en
Possible ways forward for Maritime Spatial Planning and Integrated Coastal Zone Management in the EU (questionnaire) http://ec.europa.eu/yourvoice/ipm/forms/dispatch?form=MAREENV&lang=en

Health Experts Call for Regulations to Combat Environmental Causes of Cancer
The first International Conference on Environmental and Occupational Determinants of Cancer: Interventions for Primary Prevention took place in Asturias, Spain, on March 17-18, 2011. The conference was organized by the WHO in collaboration with a consortium of cancer organizations. Experts underlined that preventable cancers attributed to the environment and occupational factors comprise roughly 19% of all cancers and cause 1.3 million deaths per year. They adopted the ‘Asturias Pledge,’ which calls on governments to adopt regulations and implement mechanisms for preventive actions and enforcement of standards concerning environmental and occupational carcinogens. The conference recommended that the WHO lead a global effort for establishing a network of institutions for policy development, while civil society networks should raise awareness, and industry and the private sector should not only implement measures and better inform their workers on risks they face but also contribute to policy development.
Sources:
The Asturias Pledge – A new call to action on environmental and occupational cancer prevention http://www.who.int/phe/news/asturia_pledge/en/index.html
Experts at UN meeting urge action to combat environmental causes of cancer http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=37812&Cr=cancer&Cr1

Technological Advances with Environmental Security Implications

New Computer Model for Predicting ‘Tsunami Earthquakes’
A new computer model developed by a team of researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology may help to more accurately predict ‘tsunami earthquakes, ’which are more rare but produce larger tsunami waves than the more common “subduction earthquakes.’ The new RTerg (Realtime erg.) system uses data from approximately 150 seismic stations to calculate the length of time it takes for the earthquake’s energy to build up and cause a tsunami. According to the researchers, the new technology could easily be incorporated by any earthquake processing or tsunami warning center that receives real-time global seismic information, which would allow for an easy transition to the new detection equipment. The technology is expected to be ready for general distribution soon.
Sources:
New System Can Warn of Tsunamis Within Minutes http://www.gatech.edu/newsroom/release.html?nid=64749
Simple model could predict rare 'tsunami earthquakes' http://www.scidev.net/en/news/simple-model-could-predict-rare-tsunami-earthquakes-.html

Open-source Software for DNA Order Screening Released
A team led by Prof. Jean Peccoud, of the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg VA, has released GenoTHREAT, a software tool for the detection of attempts to acquire synthetic DNA for bioterrorism attacks from commercial providers. The program allows bioinformatics analysis on an implementation of the government-proposed outline for a screening protocol for the automatic identification of potentially dangerous DNA sequences.
Source:
Open-source software designed to minimize synthetic biology risks is released http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=20626.php

Nanotech-Augmented Membrane for Desalination
Prof. Somenath Mitra and colleagues at the New Jersey Institute of Technology have reported development of a new membrane for water desalination. By inserting carbon nanotubes into membrane pores that separate pure water vapor from salt-laden liquid, the process runs six times as fast and at a 20C° lower temperature, which the scientists hope will make this desalination method competitive with others.
Sources:
Water Desalination Using Carbon-Nanotube-Enhanced Membrane Distillation http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/am100981s (Abstract; purchase or subscription required for full text)
New desalination process using carbon nanotubes http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=20537.php

New Detection and Cleanup Techniques
New Chemical Sensor Uses Triple Cascade of Tests
A new highly sensitive chemical sensor announced by Prof. William Heineman of the Univ. of Cincinnati uses a sequence of three filtering techniques on samples to improve its performance. The process begins with a coating that allows only negative ions to pass, continues with electrolysis, and ends with spectroscopy. The device has been tested on radioactive waste at the Hanford site. A UC news release suggests applying it for detection of toxic heavy metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons at Superfund locations.
Source:
UC research produces novel sensor with improved detection selectivity http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-03-uc-sensor.html

Ionic Liquids Clean Up Contaminating Oil in the Environment
Prof. Paul Painter and his group in the Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering at Pennsylvania State University are testing a process which efficiently removes petroleum from sand or other material that it is contaminating. The technique utilizes a group of ionic liquids based on 1-alkyl-3-methylimidazolium cations, consumes little water or energy, requires no heat, and ejects the contaminant material and solvent separately for further use.
Source:
New process cleanly extracts oil from tar sands and fouled beaches http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-03-cleanly-oil-tar-sands-fouled.html

Computational models predict nanoparticle toxicity
Two recent papers discuss the use of computational models to predict nanoparticle cell toxicity. Such a model was used to assess the toxicity to E. coli of 17 different types of metal oxide nanoparticles and reliably predicted the toxicity of all considered compounds.
Sources:
Computational models predict nanoparticle toxicity http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=20704.php
Using nano-QSAR to predict the cytotoxicity of metal oxide nanoparticles http://www.nature.com/nnano/journal/v6/n3/full/nnano.2011.10.html#/affil-auth

Nanotechnology Used for Two New Anti-bacteria Water Filters
Prof. Javid Rzayev and colleagues at the State University of New York at Buffalo have used block copolymers to create a nanomembrane containing pores about 55 nm in diameter – much larger than a water molecule but smaller than a bacterium, and thus suitable for use as a water filter component.
Chad Vecitis and a group at Yale Univ. report developing an anodic microfilter using a combination of electrolysis and filtration through a porous multi-walled carbon nanotube film to accomplish the removal and inactivation of viruses (MS2) and bacteria (E. coli) from water.
Sources:
A nano-solution to global water problem: Nanomembranes could filter bacteria http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=20228.php
Large Pore Size Nanoporous Materials from the Self-Assembly of Asymmetric Bottlebrush Block Copolymers http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/nl103747m
Nanotube-Based Filter Cleans Drinking Water http://pubs.acs.org/cen/news/89/i12/8912scene3.html
Electrochemical Multiwalled Carbon Nanotube Filter for Viral and Bacterial Removal and Inactivation http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es2000062

Increasing Energy Efficiency Technologies
Organic-treated Nanotubes Replace Expensive Platinum in Fuel Cell Cathodes
A team of engineers at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland OH, led by Prof. Liming Dai, has published a paper announcing a major breakthrough in the design of fuel cell cathodes. Fuel cells using carbon nanotubes treated with the $100/kg polymer polydiallyldimethylammoniumn chloride produced as much energy as those using $65,000/kg platinum. The new components are also claimed to be longer-lasting and more stable.
Sources:
Cheap Fuel Cell Catalyst Made Easy http://sites.merid.org/nanodev/more.php?articleID=3206
Polyelectrolyte Functionalized Carbon Nanotubes as Efficient Metal-free Electrocatalysts for Oxygen Reduction http://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/ja1112904

Berkeley Lab Produces Nanocomposite for Hydrogen Storage
A scientific team at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has reported developing a composite material for the storage of hydrogen. Made of magnesium metal nanoparticles encapsulated in a gas-barrier matrix, the new polymer allows rapid hydrogen breathability at non-extreme temperatures without oxidizing the metal after cycling. According to the researchers, the polymer offers a breakthrough in materials design for hydrogen storage, batteries, and fuel cells, allowing “rapid storage kinetics without using expensive heavy-metal catalysts.”
Sources:
Berkeley Scientists Achieve Breakthrough in Nanocomposite for High-Capacity Hydrogen Storage http://vcresearch.berkeley.edu/news/berkeley-scientists-achieve-breakthrough-nanocomposite-high-capacity-hydrogen-storage
Air-stable magnesium nanocomposites provide rapid and high-capacity hydrogen storage without heavy metal catalysts http://www.nature.com/nmat/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nmat2978.html (Abstract free, article $18, or requires subscription to NATURE)

Updates on Previously Identified Issues

UN Convention on Biological Diversity Protocol Open for Signatures
The Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress opened for signature on March 7, 2011. This supplementary protocol to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity provides international rules and procedures for liability and redress in the event of damage to biodiversity caused by trans-boundary movement of living modified organisms. It will enter into force 90 days after ratification by 40 countries. [Related item: Biosafety Regulations Reviewed in Context of Worrying Forecasts in October 2010 report.]
Sources:
An Introductory Note in Preparation for Signature and Ratification of the Nagoya-Kula Lumpur [sic] Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress http://bch.cbd.int/protocol/news/
New biosafety protocol to UN treaty on biological diversity opens for signature http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=37701&Cr=biodiversity&Cr1 =

Greenness of New Technologies Needing Rare Earth Elements Questioned
The annual demand for rare earth elements has skyrocketed over the last decade from 40,000 tons to 120,000 tons, and by 2014 this might increase to 200,000 tons, if green and IT technologies continue as forecasted, notes The Independent. Meanwhile, China cut its exports to only about 30,000 tons a year and threatens to completely stop them by 2012. This had triggered a price rise from $14.40 per tonne in July 2010 to $109 per tonne in February 2011, with the February rise being triple the recent months’ average.
The main problem is that rare earth mining and ore processing are extremely polluting. Present discrepancies between national environmental standards and regulations can make rare earth processing similar to hazardous waste dumping and might lead to increased environmental security issues. The Australian mining giant Lynas is now building the world’s largest rare earth ore-processing plant in Malaysia (the first to be built outside China in about 30 years) for ore mined in Australia. Since the ore is slightly radioactive, fears increase over potential local unrest, as happened with the country’s last such refinery, which is now one of Asia’s largest radioactive waste sites.
Hence, in order to meet future demands and reduce the environmental footprint of “green technologies” and IT devices, international environmental standards for production, as well as recycling frameworks and regulations will be necessary. [Related item: New Frameworks for Securing Supply of Rare Earth Elements in February 2011 report.]
Sources:
China rare earth prices explode as export volumes collapse http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/24/us-china-rareearth-idUSTRE72N0X720110324
Global supply of rare earth elements could be wiped out by 2012 http://www.naturalnews.com/028028_rare_earth_elements_mining.html
Malaysia gambles on rare earth http://www.montrealgazette.com/Malaysia+gambles+rare+earth/4413144/story.html
China to lose monopoly on rare earth minerals http://www.vancouversun.com/China+lose+monopoly+rare+earth+minerals/4434648/story.html

World Water Day 2011 Focused on Urbanization
This year’s World Water Day theme was “Water for cities: responding to the urban challenge.” If current trends continue, the number of people living in urban areas with perennial water shortage (less than 100 liters per person per day within their urban extent) could increase from the current 150 million to almost 1 billion by 2050 estimates the report Urban growth, climate change, and freshwater availability by the NAS.
Sources:
World water day 2011: Water for cities - responding to the urban challenge http://www.unwater.org/worldwaterday/
Urban growth, climate change, and freshwater availability http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2011/03/21/1011615108.abstract
Green hills, blue cities. An ecosystems approach to water resources management for African cities http://dev.grida.no/RRA_BlueCities/layout/RRA_GHBC_screen.pdf

Climate Change
Scientific Evidence and Natural Disasters
According to U.S. Geological Survey data, the number of mega-quakes increased from four in the 1980s, to six in the 1990s and 13 in the last decade, while the number of major earthquakes for the same decades increased from 1,085 to 1,492, and 1,611 respectively. Although there is no consensus among scientists about the link between the increased frequency and intensity of earthquakes and climate change, it is believed that the melting of glaciers might be a factor.
A recent study by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory designed to understand the relationship between movements in the Earth’s core, its rotation, and surface air temperatures revealed clear large-scale impacts of human-induced warming.
The Taiwan Central Weather Bureau reported that over the past century its temperature rose by 1.4ºC (2.6ºF), twice the global rate of 0.65ºC (1ºF), and the number of typhoons that hit Taiwan increased from 3.1 to 3.6 per year.

Food and Water Security
The FAO Food Price Index averaged 236 points in February, up 2.2% from January, the highest record in real and nominal terms since 1990 when FAO started monitoring prices.
Small-scale farmers can double food production in a decade by using simple ecological methods, according to the UN study “Agro-ecology and the right to food.”
Kenya, where 80% of the farmers depend on rain for their crops, is suffering another extended drought. In Somalia, 2.4 million people (a third of the country’s population) are in need of relief aid due to drought and two decades of conflict. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, an estimated 51 million people (75% of the population) have no access to safe drinking water, although the country holds over 50% of Africa’s water reserves, notes the UNEP study Water Issues in the Democratic Republic of Congo – Challenges and Opportunities.

Melting glaciers and sea ice
The Arctic sea ice extent reached a record low 14.64 million square kilometers (5.65 million square miles) on March 7, 2011 (the likely day of maximum ice coverage for the year), as shown by preliminary data at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder CO. A study found that the Arctic plankton blooming peak shifted from September in the 1990s, to July in 2009, occurring up to 50 days earlier. This is expected to also have a ripple effect for other species.

Rising Seas Level
New research found that ice loss from Antarctica and Greenland has accelerated over the last 20 years and is occurring faster than models predict. If these trends continue, the two polar ice sheets would add 15 cm (5.9 inches) to the average global sea level by 2050. Migration
The President of Kiribati says that the situation in the country’s outer islands is critical and that an increasing number of coastal villagers need to be relocated because of rising sea levels. While previously the villagers were asking the government to build sea walls so that they could remain in the village, now they ask for help with relocation, reported Kiribati President Anote Tong.

Health
Warmer waters could increase the spread of harmful bacteria and toxic algal species, which, if ingested via contaminated seafood or water, could cause gastrointestinal infections and infectious diseases such as cholera.
Increased rainwater in urban areas could exceed sewage system capacities and cause storm water overflows, which could taint drinking water and increase risks of waterborne diseases like cholera.

Post-Kyoto Treaty Negotiations
On March 14, 2011, the Council of Environment Ministers of the EU adopted the follow-up conclusions to the Cancun Conference. It confirmed its commitment for a second period under a Protocol that would preferably be a single legally binding instrument including the essential elements of the Kyoto Protocol, applied to all major economies. It also suggested that the upcoming Durban Climate Conference address the reforming of existing carbon market mechanisms and the establishment of new sectoral or other scaled-up market mechanisms.
Sources:
JPL study highlights drastic scale of human-induced global warming http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/news/ci_17603445
Tight cereal markets as food prices increase again http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/51913/icode/
Arab world faces more food crises http://www.seeddaily.com/reports/Arab_world_faces_more_food_crises_999.html
UN expert makes case for ecological farming practices to boost food production http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=37704&Cr=farming&Cr1
Arctic Sea Ice News and Analysis http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/
Cuba Cooperates with Seychelles on Hazards of Sea-level Rise http://www.cubaheadlines.com/2011/03/27/30352/cuba_cooperates_with_seychelles_on_hazards_of_sea_level_rise.html
Rising waters in Kiribati threatening villages: president http://australianetworknews.com/stories/201103/3158434.htm?desktop
3 Surprising Ways Global Warming Could Make You Sick http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/03/110301-global-warming-health-science-environment/
Council conclusions. Follow-up to the Cancún Conference, 3075th ENVIRONMENT Council meeting. Brussels, 14 March 2011 http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/envir/119875.pdf

Nanotechnology Safety Issues
OECD Report Reviews Past Nanotech Risk Study and Recommends Future
According to Meridian Nanotechnology and Development News, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development released a report, OECD Nanosafety Work: The First Five Years, which says. "…as countries consider whether manufactured nanomaterials require special regulation, they will need a coordinated international approach to address environmental and health risks." It reviews past efforts and discusses the work of OECD's Working Party on Manufactured Nanomaterials, which helps countries implement policies to address nanotech EHS problems. Also of interest is the new OECD Work on Environment brochure, which highlights the OECD's environmental work for 2011-2012.
Sources:
Nanosafety at the OECD: The First Five Years 2006-2010 http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/6/25/47104296.pdf
OECD WORK ON ENVIRONMENT 2011-2012 http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/16/35/47058547.pdf
OECD Says Coordination Needed to Address Manufactured Nanomaterials' Potential Risks http://sites.merid.org/nanodev/more.php?articleID=3163

Nanotechnology Law and Policy Cases and Materials
According to the announcement, this comprehensive 538-page book. "…includes an examination of the scope of nanotechnology as a science and as a commercialized application of science, and the legal, regulatory and policy aspects of this emerging technology."
Sources:
Forthcoming new treatise: Nanotechnology Law and Policy http://www.nanolawreport.com/2011/02/articles/forthcoming-new-treatise-nanotechnology-law-and-policy/
Victoria Sutton. Nanotechnology Law and Policy, CAP, 2011 http://www.cap-press.com/isbn/9781594607516

EC Joint Research Center Launches Repository of Nanomaterials
According to Meridian Nanotechnology and Development News, "The European Commission's Joint Research Center has launched the first European repository of nanomaterials that contains a representative range of 25 different types of reference nanomaterials, including carbon nanotubes, silver nanoparticles, titanium dioxide, cerium oxide, zinc oxide, bentonite, gold and silicon dioxide."
Source:
Small Material, Big Impact: European Repository of Reference Nanomaterials Will Improve Safety Assessment http://sites.merid.org/nanodev/more.php?articleID=3155
Small material, big impact: European Repository of Reference Nanomaterials will improve safety assessment http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/jrc/index.cfm?id=2300&obj_id=2950&dt_code=PRL&lang=en

EC Releases Compendium NanoSafety Cluster 2011 Overview of Projects
The European Commission has released the second edition of the Compendium NanoSafety Cluster 2011. This 230-page publication provides summaries of EU FP6 and FP7 nanosafety projects. The Nanosafety Cluster, a projects and stakeholders open forum, has as its main aims synergy among these projects, collaboration for maximizing impact, policy elaboration, planning of future actions, and international cooperation.
Source:
European Commission releases the second edition of the Compendium NanoSafety Cluster 2011 http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=20637.php
Compendium http://www.nanoimpactnet.eu/uploads/file/NanoSafetyCluster/Compendium_2011_web.pdf
NanoSafety: http://www.nanosafetycluster.eu/

Nanotech Accreditation Scheme Gives Out First Certification
The AssuredNano® nanotech EHS accreditation scheme has awarded its first certification, to Thomas Swan & Co. Ltd., a manufacturer of single-walled carbon nanotubes. The evaluation covers 19 aspects of the production process, including manufactured nanomaterial types and characteristics; nanoparticle exposure, risk, and risk assessment and management; life cycle analysis; and exposure control and measurement.
Sources:
Assured Nano: http://www.assurednano.com/
Thomas Swan Pioneers Responsible Nano Accreditation http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=20640.php

Study Examines Regulation of Nanotech with Uncertain Risks
A study, Regulating Uncertain Risks of Nanomaterials, conducted under the sponsorship of three Netherlands ministries, "examines the possibilities and limitations for such regulation under existing legislation covering the environment, consumer protection and occupational health and safety, given the uncertain risks attached to the use of nanomaterials," according to Nanowerk News. It discusses governmental powers and others' obligations in this area, with an emphasis on Dutch and EU legislation.
Sources:
Study analyses the possibilities and bottlenecks for regulating nanomaterials with uncertain risks http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=20689.php
Regulating Uncertain Risks of Nanomaterials http://www.chemicalwatch.com/downloads/Dutch_STEM_publication_2010_Regulating_uncertain_risks_of_nanomaterials_summary_and_conclusions.pdf (26-page English summary; contains link to Dutch original)

UK Food Safety Organization Calls for Increased Nanomaterial Vigilance
The UK Institute of Food Science and Technology is calling for increased attention to possible environmental and health hazards arising from the use of anti-microbial nanomaterials in food packaging, from both direct contact and their disposal in waste, including the possibility of heightened bacterial resistance.
Source:
Assess Risk from Nano-pollution and Antimicrobials in Packaging – IFST
http://sites.merid.org/nanodev/more.php?articleID=3173

Nanotech a Major Example in New Book, Risk and Precaution
In his new book, Risk and Precaution, Prof. Alan Randall of Australia's Univ. of Sydney, uses nanotechnology as an example of a field in which his proposed framework for risk management should be applied. According to the author, his scheme, "...would combine elements of traditional risk management with a more precautionary approach, screening more innovations for risk, identifying real threats sooner, and allowing less-risky innovations to proceed. If we can quickly identify those cases where further testing is necessary, precaution could be less intrusive and costly while still providing substantial protection from harm."
Sources:
The risky business of innovation: a new framework for risk management http://sydney.edu.au/news/84.html?newscategoryid=2&newsstoryid=6470
The risky business of innovation: a new framework for risk management http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=20385.php

NIOSH Requests Hazard and Risk Comments to Update Nanotech Strategic Plan
NIOSH is seeking comments on the types of hazard identification and risk management research that it should consider in updating the NIOSH 2009 nanotechnology strategic plan. It would like to build on the accomplishments of ongoing research to develop strategic research goals and objectives through 2015. NIOSH identified ten critical research areas for the effort and five key goals; they are laid out in the Federal Register announcement. NIOSH requests comment on how research in these areas can be enhanced. Comments are due 15 April 2011.
Source:
Request for Information: Update of NIOSH Nanotechnology Strategic Plan for Research and Guidance [Docket Number NIOSH 134-A] http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2011/2011-5110.htm

Conferences to Discuss Current Nanotech Developments, Including Safety - A two-day symposium, Safety issues of Nanomaterials along their life cycle, will be held 4-5 May 2011 at LEITAT Technological Center, Barcelona. Sessions will include International, national and regional initiatives on Nanotechnology / Nanosafety; Synthesis, characterization and applications; Human health impact; Environmental impact; Risk assessment; and Life cycle assessment of Nanomaterials. http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=20638.php
- EuroNanoForum 2011, to be held in Budapest, 30 May – 1 June 2011, will present updates on the latest developments in nanotechnology from over 70 leading research centers, information about industrial applications, and data on future R&D funding strategies from the European Commission and 14 other funding agencies. http://www.leitat.org/nanoLCA/
- Greener Nano 2011 (GN11) will be held at HP Headquarters in Cupertino, CA 1-3 May 2011, and, "…will address challenges and opportunities for nanotechnology and delineate how companies can incorporate green nanotechnology into its products and processes." http://oregonstate.edu/conferences/event/greenernano/index.htm
- The Univ. of Cincinnati NIOSH Education and Research Center (ERC) will sponsor a 10 May 2011, conference, Nanotechnology -- Health and Safety Considerations, at the Dept. of Environmental Health, Univ. of Cincinnati College of Medicine. http://eh.uc.edu/erc/ERC-Nanotechnology-symposium.pdf

Reports and Information Suggested for Review
National Security Implications of Climate Change for U.S. Naval Forces
National Security Implications of Climate Change for U.S. Naval Forces, a new report by the National Research Council of the NAS, argues that climate change raises challenges to America’s current naval capabilities, requiring serious changes to the design of their fleets, training, and ships’ deployment.
Sources:
US navy faces up to a new enemy – climate change http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn20228-us-navy-faces-up-to-a-new-enemy--climate-change.html
US Navy ill-prepared for new Arctic frontier: study http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/climatewarmingusrussiamilitaryoil

Considerations for “Green Buildings”
A new website, www.BuildingRating.org, offers a collection of more than 500 documents and a host of other resources that cover all aspects of building energy efficiency, including legislative and regulatory examples and policy implementation.
ASTM International has released Standard Practice for Building Energy Performance Assessment for a Building Involved in a Real Estate Transaction (E2797-11), a standard for collecting, compiling, and analyzing energy use in buildings, in order to develop data to assess building energy performance.
The Latham & Watkins LLC law firm has prepared a brief report discussing a number of considerations that should be taken into account in applying the concept of a "green building" to new construction.
Sources:
www.BuildingRating.org
New ASTM standard for measuring energy performance in commercial http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=c305c8ff-4a19-4845-b93a-9763d86fb2a6
Green Building Projects: The Growing Trend Brings Both Opportunities and Potential Liability Risks http://www.lw.com/Resources.aspx?page=FirmPublicationDetail&publication=4016#page=1

New Set of Tools for Estimating Data Center Carbon Footprint
The commercial company APC recently introduced a set of free Web-based tools, using a simple approach, for estimating the carbon footprint of a data center anywhere in the world.
Source:
Estimating a Data Center’s Electrical Carbon Footprint http://www.apcmedia.com/salestools/DBOY-7EVHLH_R0_EN.pdf

Back to Top


February 2011

Security Council Debate on Addressing Non-Traditional Security Aspects

The UN Security Council session of February 11, 2011, focused on the links between security, climate change, and development. The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, stated, “Nine of the ten countries with the lowest Human Development Indicators have experienced conflict in the last 20 years.” He went on to say that while development and social aspects have gradually come to be considered in peace building strategies, focus should increase, “…on the climate change - security - development nexus”, and “We cannot achieve security without securing energy and managing climate risks.” The concept paper “The maintenance of international peace and security: the interdependence between security and development”, distributed to Council members prior to the meeting, notes the Council’s awareness of the important impact of this interdependence since the late 1990s. Countries’ statements citing economic factors affecting conflict included aspects such as loss of livelihoods, illegal exploitation of minerals, and climate change. France gave examples of how development, climate change and food security fuel conflict, noting that they will be a priority for the country’s G-20 chairmanship. [Related item: Germany to Propose Adding Climate Change to UN Security Council Agenda in December 2010 report.]
Sources:
Security Council Presidential Statement Stresses Need to Consider Economic, Social as well as Political Factors in Maintaining International Peace, Security http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2011/sc10172.doc.htm
New York, 11 February 2011 - Secretary-General’s remarks to the Security Council thematic debate on “Interlinkages between Peace, Security and Development” http://www.un.org/apps/sg/sgstats.asp?nid=5086
The maintenance of international peace and security—the interdependence between security and development
http://www.securitycouncilreport.org/atf/cf/%7B65BFCF9B-6D27-4E9C-8CD3-CF6E4FF96FF9%7D/IPS%20S%202011%2050.pdf

NEP Governing Council and Global Ministerial Environmental Forum Focused on Transition to Green Growth
The 26th session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum was held in Nairobi, Kenya, February 21-24, 2011. The ministerial consultations focused on emerging policy issues in preparation for the “Rio 2012” Conference on Sustainable Development. Several countries called for changes to the current economic system while Finland said it’s working on indicators to replace GDP accounting methods. Countries also pledged support for the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. The UNEP report “Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication,” released at the Forum, asserts that an investment of 2% of global GDP ($1.3 trillion) per year into ten key sectors could trigger “greener, smarter growth,” removing the inherent risks and crises associated with the current “brown economy” model. Investing about 1.25% of global GDP per year in energy efficiency and renewable energies could cut global primary energy demand by 9% in 2020 and close to 40% by 2050. Transition to a Green economy is also the theme of UNEP’s Year Book 2011.
Sources:
26th session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum http://www.unep.org/gc/gc26/
Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication http://www.unep.org/greeneconomy/
UNEP Year Book 2011: Emerging Issues in Our Global Environment http://www.unep.org/yearbook/2011/

Middle East Protests and Oil Prices Increase Energy Security Concerns
Energy security concerns around the world are increasing as the scope and spectrum of the protests started in the Middle East at the beginning of 2011 are expanding. The political turmoil could further affect the living standards in the region, fuelling tension in an already conflict-prone region. Since the beginning of the protests, the price of Brent (a specific North Sea crude) has remained over $100 per barrel (on February 23rd reaching $111/barrel), while West Texas Intermediate is over $97 per barrel. Extended interruptions in oil supplies from these countries would probably drive up prices further. Unreliable production and exportation of oil from the region would cause greater demand on oil supplies from the North Sea and Africa. In January 2011, Russia (already the leading producer of oil) signed a deal with British Petroleum to begin drilling for oil in the Arctic Ocean.
Sources:
EU registers first energy shock from Libya unrest http://euobserver.com/9/31859/?rk=1
Oil pressure rising http://www.economist.com/blogs/newsbook/2011/02/arab_worlds_unrest_and_oil_prices
Western oil firms react to Libya crisis http://www.upi.com/Science_News/Resource-Wars/2011/02/21/Western-oil-firms-react-to-Libya-crisis/UPI-20681298317375/
Russia Embraces Offshore Arctic Drilling http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/16/business/global/16arctic.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss

Environmental Security Proposed as Focus for US-China Military Strategic Trust
Prior to his Washington visit, Chinese President Hu Jintao met with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates in Beijing and urged the two militaries to deepen strategic trust. Given the internal environmental problems of China and the emerging international consensus on the importance of environmental security, the Millennium Project talk for the Army Environmental Policy Institute’s Sustainability Lecture Series recommended that a key focus of such strategic trust should be environmental security.
Sources:
Chinese president meets U.S. defense chief, urges deeper strategic trust http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/gdxw/t785145.htm
International Environmental Security Briefing February 23, 2011 http://www.millennium-project.org/millennium/presentations.html

South Korea Releases National Chemicals Control Basic Plan
The South Korean Ministry of Environment has released the National Chemicals Control Basic Plan. This is in support of the UN’s sustainable chemical control rules under the 2006 Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM). By 2020 the Plan will expand the national toxicity information database to cover 80% of the current 43,000 chemical substances known to be in circulation. Nanomaterials are among priority chemicals that will be subject to in-depth hazard assessment, exposure analysis, and safety studies.
Sources:
South Korea Includes Nanosubstances in Ten-Year Plan http://nanotech.lawbc.com/2011/02/articles/international/south-korea-includes-nanosubstances-in-tenyear-plan/

China Plans to Curb Heavy Metal Pollution
China is the largest producer and user of lead in the world. Its environmental protection agency is considering tougher environmental regulations to curb heavy metal pollution. The consequences of widespread industrial contamination and pollution accidents have been rising for the past five years and are expected to worsen over the next five, warns China’s Greenpeace. Most notable are contamination of large quantities of rice with heavy metals like cadmium, and lead poisoning (mostly of children), which began triggering protests.
Sources:
China Plans To Rein In Heavy Metal Pollution http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/22/us-china-metal-pollution-idUSTRE71L2IC20110222
China rice laced with heavy metals: report http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-02-china-rice-laced-heavy-metals.html

Technological Advances with Environmental Security Implications

New Global Network of 100 Stations to Measure GHG Emissions
The Earth Network and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography will establish a global network of GHG-measuring stations over the next five years. The network will have 50 stations in the U.S. and 50 in other countries. The observations will be made using a cavity ring-down spectroscope from Picarro of Sunnyvale CA. It will compare the behavior of laser beams passing through two chambers, one empty and one air-filled; the measurement is accurate within a few parts per billion (ppb).
Sources:
Earth Networks http://www.earthnetworks.com/
New global network to precisely measure emissions Addressing Food Security http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/11/AR2011011107140.html

Silicone Greatly Enhances TiO2 Catalytic Sterilizing Effect
Chemistry Prof. Andrew Barron and colleagues at Rice Univ. have reported discovering that adding a carefully chosen amount of silicone to the viral disinfecting catalyst TiO2 improves its performance more than threefold, by changing its UV absorption.
Source:
Virus killer gets supercharged http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-01/ru-vkg011111.php

Magma-fed Geothermal Sources Promise Major Improvement
The Iceland Deep Drilling Project has announced that drilling hydrothermal wells into magma intrusions provides greater geothermal energy than drilling into weakly heated rock. The geothermal field at China Lake, California produces approximately 270 MW from about 100 wells in production depths up to 12,000 feet and relatively low temperatures up to 350ºF. The magma-fed geothermal unit in Iceland at 6,900 feet encountered high pressure dry steam at 750ºF, which they estimate could produce 25 MW of electricity from one well alone. This discovery substantially expands the possible significance of geothermal power as an alternative energy source.
Sources:
Iceland Volcano Drilling Suggests Magma Could Become Source of High-Grade Energy http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110216123545.htm
Origin of a rhyolite that intruded a geothermal well while drilling at the Krafla volcano, Iceland http://geology.gsapubs.org/content/39/3/231.abstract?sid=40206649-75ee-4829-840e-b0fc7bfbc21b

Updates on Previously Identified Issues

Waste Management Improvements
EU to Introduce Stricter Regulations for E-Waste Management
The European Parliament has adopted amendments for strengthening the Directive on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE Directive). The proposed new rules require that from 2016 on, depending on the category, 85% of WEEE be recovered and 50-75% recycled, while 5% is to be prepared for re-use. The Directive also sets producer and consumer responsibilities, and holds the exporter responsible for the legality of WEEE export and treatment in developing countries. The European Council is expected to debate the proposal in March 2011. [Related item: Hazardous E-waste Grows as Major Environmental Problem in November 2010 report.]
Sources:
Waste electrical and electronic equipment. Texts adopted, Thursday, 3 February 2011 – Brussels http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+TA+P7-TA-2011-0037+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN&language=EN
MEPs demand better e-waste management http://www.europarl.europa.eu/pdfs/news/expert/infopress/20110203IPR13097/20110203IPR13097_en.pdf

International Partnership to be Established for Improving Local Waste Management
The CSD-19 Intersessional Conference on Building Partnerships for Moving towards Zero Waste was held February 16-18, 2011, in Tokyo, Japan. It concluded that the transition to a zero-waste society is key to achieving green growth and sustainable development. The conference also highlighted the need for building a platform to foster international cooperation and explore new opportunities, including reusing/converting wastes as resources. Delegates also agreed to establish the International Partnership for Expanding Waste Management Services of Local Authorities (IPLA) to serve as a clearinghouse of best practices and boost waste management capacity at local and regional levels. IPLA will be officially launched at CSD-19 to be held in May 2011. [Related item: First Joint Meeting of the Main Conventions on Hazardous Chemicals to Improve International Environmental Governance in February 2010 environmental security report.]
Sources:
CSD Intersessional Conference on Building Partnerships for Moving towards Zero Waste http://www.uncrd.or.jp/env/spc/docs/csd19_concept_note.pdf
CSD-19 website: http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/csd/csd_csd19.shtml
Result of the United Nations meeting concerning waste management (in Japanese) http://www.env.go.jp/press/press.php?serial=13491

EU to Ban Six Toxic Chemicals under the REACH Program
The EU has selected the first six substances to be listed in Annex XIV of the REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals) program. The chemicals’ use or commercialization is banned unless special authorization is obtained. Three phthalates, a flame retardant, a synthetic musk, and a compound used in epoxy resins and adhesives are to be phased out from 2014 to 2015. [Related items: EU Updates the REACH System, and WEEE and RoHS Directives in December 2008 environmental security report.]gulations, as applicable.
Sources:
Chemicals/REACH: six dangerous substances to be phased out by the EU http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/11/196&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en
First Chemicals Banned In European Union http://pubs.acs.org/cen/news/89/i08/8908news2.html

New Zealand Establishes Vast Marine Reserves around Subantarctic Islands
The government of New Zealand is establishing three huge marine reserves totaling 1,680 square miles in the Subantarctic Islands, covering Antipodes Is., Campbell Is., and the Bounty Islands. [Related item: New Protected Areas Proposed in the Pacific in November 2010 environmental security report.]
Source:
Subantarctic Islands to become marine reserves http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1101/S00154/subantarctic-islands-to-become-marine-reserves.htm

New Frameworks for Securing Supply of Rare Earth Elements
Japan Suggests "Triangular cooperation" for Addressing Rare Earth Supply
Keiichi Kawakami of the Japanese Ministry for Industry has suggested that Japan, the U.S., and the EU build a “triangular cooperation” network to join forces for developing strategies to diversify supply sources and develop substitutes, as well as to encourage China to, “…establish quotas sufficient to prevent adverse effects on the world industrial supply chain.” He made the suggestion at the European Parliament, while presenting Japan’s Rare Earth Elements strategy, adopted in October 2010, after China stopped shipments to Japan over a territorial dispute. U.S. held bilateral meetings with Japan and the EU in November and December 2010 respectively.

China to Increase the Framework Related to Rare Earth Elements Production and Supply
China controls over 90% of present rare earth supply. It has been gradually reducing export quotas since 2005 and might even become a major importer, due to its high level of consumption of these materials. Meantime, China’s State Council announced that over the next five years it will establish and improve the supervision regulations framework and standards that relate to rare earth mining, processing, and export, to protect the environment and resources. There are speculations that the government is planning to reduce the number of active rare earth metal mines from the current 123 to approximately 10, as well as reduce processing facilities by more than two-thirds.

The U.S. Increasing Efforts to Secure Rare Earth Elements Supply
The report Energy Critical Elements: Securing Materials for Emerging Technologies by the American Physical Society and Materials Research Society offers recommendations for securing future supplies of rare earths and other elements critical to the development of new technologies to foster U.S energy independence. Similar recommendations are included in the bill “Critical Minerals and Materials Promotion Act of 2011” introduced by Sen. Mark Udall, of Colorado on February 17, 2011 and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. [Related item: The Battle for Rare Earth Elements Continues in January 2011 report.]
Sources:
EU, US, Japan should cooperate on rare earth supply http://www.euractiv.com/en/sustainability/eu-us-japan-cooperate-rare-earth-supply-news-501917
China to further regulate rare earth exports: MOC spokesman http://english.gov.cn/2011-02/17/content_1805274.htm
New rules regulate rare earth industry http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/usa/business/2011-02/18/content_12041065.htm
Energy Critical Elements—Developing New Technologies to Foster U.S. Energy Independence http://aps.org/about/pressreleases/elementsreport.cfm
A bill to promote the domestic production of critical minerals and materials, and for other purposes http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s112-383

Ecuadorian Court Fines Chevron $8.6 Billion for Environmental Damages
An Ecuadorian court verdict orders Chevron Corp. to pay about $8.6 billion to Amazonian communities for environmental damage caused by oil drilling during 1964-1992. Although this is the largest compensation for its type, the plaintiffs’ lawyers estimate the damage costs to around $113 billion. Lack of a clear legal system, and liability and redress framework for environmental damage from exploitation of natural resources might keep the case unsettled for several more years. [See also Environmental Courts and Tribunals Are Rapidly Increasing Around the World and The Oil Spill Likely to Initiate International Regulations Discussions and Accelerate Alternative Energy Developments in the April and May 2010 environmental security reports.]
Sources:
Ecuador Judge Orders Chevron to Pay $9 Billion http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/15/world/americas/15ecuador.html
Indigenous people wins ruling against Chevron http://www.npaid.org/en/News_Archive/?module=Articles;action=Article.publicShow;ID=16825
Chevron to pay Billions in Damages, Ecuadorian Court Rules http://ictsd.org/i/news/biores/101288/
Chevron, Ecuador Lawsuit http://www.chevron.com/ecuador/

Climate Change
Food and Water Security
The FAO Food Price Index averaged 231 points in January 2011, the highest level since 1990, when it is backtracked. Prices of all monitored commodity groups showed strong gains, with the exception of meat, which remained constant. The World Bank’s food price index is also on the rise and in January was only 3% below its 2008 peak. The Bank estimates that rising food prices have pushed 44 million more people into extreme poverty since June 2010, and warns that global food prices have reached “dangerous levels,” which could aggravate political and social conditions in fragile regions. Additionally, severe weather conditions in China, the world’s largest wheat producer, affected 12.75 million (of a total 35 million) acres of wheat fields. If China, which has the highest foreign exchange reserves, begins importing large quantities of food, international prices might rise even higher, with serious impact on the rest of the world.
A five-point action plan developed by FAO to help countries cope with food price volatility includes creating a multilateral mechanism to improve transparency of food markets.
The FAO report, Making Integrated Food-Energy Systems (IFES) Work for People and Climate: An Overview, presents examples of approaches that integrate food and energy crops. The paper describes two types of IFES: a) food and biomass for energy are grown on the same land, and b) the use of agro-industrial technology that allows agricultural byproducts to be used through gasification or anaerobic digestion. It underscores that integrating crops can also be an effective climate change mitigation approach.
South Korea announced plans for creating a national body for addressing food security issues, and establishing its own grain-trading company in Chicago by mid-2011, trying to mitigate the impact of global food price volatility.

Melting Glaciers and Sea Ice
The Arctic’s air temperatures were 2º-6ºC (4º-11ºF) above normal in January 2011, and the extent of ice was the lowest for the month since the beginning of satellite records. Ice coverage for the month declined by roughly 10% in three decades (see graph in the Appendix ).
Peru’s Huaytapallana Mountain glacier lost 50% of its surface ice between June 1983 and August 2006, announced Peruvian officials, reinforcing concerns over threats to fresh water resources. A World Bank report of 2009 said that Peru’s glaciers have shrunk by 22% over the past 35 years, leading to a 12% loss in the amount of fresh water reaching the coast, where most of the country’s population lives. The report warned that Andean glaciers and permanent snowcaps could disappear in 20 years.

Rising Seas Level
Using data from the U.S. Geological Survey, a study by the University of Arizona maps the U.S. coast showing in detail where and how much coastal land could be lost if global sea levels rise by about 3 feet by 2100. The study found that an average of 9% of the land in the 180 coastal cities is threatened, with the southern Atlantic coast and the Gulf of Mexico most affected.

Migration
The Asian Development Bank project on Policy Options to Support Climate-induced Migration aims to enhance regional preparedness for migration triggered by climate change. This project considers the assumption that increased occurrence and intensity of extreme weather conditions will force a growing number of people to migrate. It is the first international initiative addressing climate-induced migration in Asia and the Pacific to generate policies and finance recommendations. Also as part of the project, the report, Climate Change and Migration in Asia and the Pacific, expected to be published in March 2011, will highlight “hotspots” and potential migration management options for improved adaptation and opportunities.

Adaptation
The briefing note, Strengthening Climate Change Adaptation Through Effective Disaster Risk Reduction, by the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR) presents climate risk reduction strategies and an assessment of how managing risks can reduce costs. One of the key messages is that disaster risk reduction and adaptation should be included in national development planning.
On February 9, 2011, the UN General Assembly held its first debate on disaster risk reduction. The debate included two panels: “Invest Today for a Safer Tomorrow,” and “Addressing the Challenges of Disaster Risk in Urban Settings.” The outcomes will inform the third session of the biennial Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction to be held May 8-13, 2011, in Geneva, Switzerland.
The World Resources Institute, in collaboration with UNEP, UNDP, and the World Bank, have launched the World Resources Report website in an open form that invites expert views to be considered for the findings and recommendations of the 2011 edition of the World Resources Report to be published in April 2011. This report aims to provide guidance on mainstreaming climate change risks into planning and policies across sectors such as agriculture, electricity production, and forestry and water management.

Sources:
FAO Food Price Index http://www.fao.org/worldfoodsituation/wfs-home/foodpricesindex/en/
U.N. Food Agency Issues Warning on China Drought http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/09/business/global/09food.html?_r=1
Reducing poverty by growing fuel and food http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/51165/icode/
South Korea President Calls For National Food Procurement Body http://planetark.org/wen/61124
National Snow and Ice Data Center, Arctic Sea Ice News & Analysis http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/
Climate change halves Peru glacier: official http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5htSvBVTDFBNBgjgNUEFs1z2pEPuw?docId=CNG.867dcb3d94702f9df32e0fdbe6185a98.1011Rising Seas Threaten 180 U.S. Cities By 2100: Study http://planetark.org/wen/61245
Climate-induced Migration http://www.adb.org/SocialDevelopment/climate-migration/
Top United Nations Officials Stress Need to Invest in Advance Planning, Sound Prevention as General Assembly Holds First Debate on Reducing Disaster Risk http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs//2011/ga11048.doc.htm
World Resources Report Website http://www.worldresourcesreport.org

Nanotechnology Safety Issues

Netherlands to Require Nanotech Development to Include Risk Analysis
The Netherlands government has announced that joint public/private investments in the development of nanotechnology must devote at least 15% of the investment to risk analyses. According to nanotech.lawbc.com, a recent report found that citizens have a positive attitude about the opportunities offered by nanotech, but are concerned about the risks.
Source:
The Netherlands Will Require Nanotechnology Development to Include Investment in Risk Analysis http://nanotech.lawbc.com/2011/02/articles/international/the-netherlands-will-require-nanotechnology-development-to-include-investment-in-risk-analysis/

Joint US/UK Consortium to Develop Nanotech Risk-management Tools
A new organization from the US and the UK, the Nanomaterial Bioavailability and Environmental Exposure (Nano-BEE) Consortium, is developing risk-management tools government officials will be able to use to effectively regulate nanomaterials. According to a project spokeswoman, "[R]egulators need tools that will allow them to look at a wide variety of nanomaterials and rapidly identify the most significant potential problems for a specific nanomaterial in a specific location. This [consortium] … will model how the local environmental chemistry influences the availability of nanomaterials. We expect to see a lot of variability: What is safe in one area may be unsafe someplace else."
Sources:
US, UK Join Forces for Nano Safety http://www.media.rice.edu/media/NewsBot.asp?MODE=VIEW&ID=15276&SnID=2013438090
Consortium for Manufactured Nanomaterial Bioavailability & Environmental Exposure http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncer_abstracts/index.cfm/fuseaction/display.abstractDetail/abstract/9271/report/0

National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) Releases 2011 Strategic Plan
The US National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) has released the 2011 NNI Strategic Plan, which states four goals: advance a world-class nanotech R/D program; foster the transfer of new technologies into products; develop and sustain educational resources, a skilled workforce, and the supporting infrastructure and tools to advance nanotech; and support responsible nanotech development. It also lays out specific objectives under each goal, “outlining concrete steps that NNI member agencies will take toward collectively achieving the NNI vision and goals”, according to nanotech.lawbc.com.
Sources:
NNI Releases 2011 Strategic Plan http://nanotech.lawbc.com/2011/02/articles/united-states/federal/nni-releases-2011-strategic-plan/
2011 NNI Strategic Plan http://www.nano.gov/nnistrategicplan211.pdf

A New Toxicology of Sophisticated Materials Required for the Nano Future
A new paper notes, "…it has become ever-more important to understand how the physical form and chemical composition of these [nano] materials interact synergistically to determine toxicity. … Research within … [nanotoxicology] is highlighting the importance of material physicochemical properties in how dose is understood, how materials are characterized in a manner that enables quantitative data interpretation and comparison, and how materials move within, interact with and are transformed by biological systems." The paper presents "…a brief overview of the current state of the science …, and focus on three emerging … challenges … that will become increasingly important over the next fifty years: identifying relevant materials for study, physicochemical characterization, and bio-interactions. "
Source:
The New Toxicology of Sophisticated Materials: Nanotoxicology and Beyond http://toxsci.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2010/12/22/toxsci.kfq372

Scientists Review State of Nanotoxicology
Harald F. Krug and Peter Wick of the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology have published a paper, How Safe Is Nano? Nanotoxicology: An interdisciplinary challenge, that, according to the abstract, “…seeks to cast light on the phenomena that may occur as nanoobjects interact with cells, tissues, and organisms … [and to] demonstrate that the many data made available on the biological effects of nanomaterials do not always come from studies that can be considered reliable.”
Sources:
Nanotoxicology: An Interdisciplinary Challenge http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201001037
How Safe Is Nano? Nanotoxicology: An interdisciplinary challenge http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-01-safe-nano-nanotoxicology-interdisciplinary.html

More Assurance of Nanotech Safety A Factor in Public Acceptance
A new paper, Still more questions than answers on nanotechnology in food, raises the problem that the unanswered questions on nanotech safety, and the failure to communicate to the public the information that is available on its benefits and risks, especially in food, are obstacles to achieving consumer acceptance of the technology. The author concludes: "Achieving safe and widely accepted commercial uses of nanotechnology will require concerted effort across countries, Federal agencies, disciplines and sectors. Ultimately, the success or failure of nanotechnology may hinge on how and the extent that these challenges are overcome."
Sources:
Nanotechnology for Food Applications: More Questions Than Answers http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1745-6606.2010.01182.x/abstract
Still more questions than answers on nanotechnology in food http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Financial-Industry/Still-more-questions-than-answers-on-nanotechnology-in-food

New EU NANOCHANNELS Project Aims to Improve Public Understanding
The new NANOCHANNELS, an EC-funded project, implemented by a consortium of nanotech, media, public communications, and educational organizations, will engage in “a dynamic programme of communication, dialogue, and engagement in issues of nanotechnology (NT) aimed at European citizens, … [with] the overarching aim … to build trust and achieve a social consensus in the development and implementation of nanotechnology.” The Institute of Nanotechnology will be the project’s scientific advisor and it will operate in six countries, including Israel.
Source:
‘It’s good to talk’: Institute of Nanotechnology participates in the Nanochannels project http://www.nano.org.uk/news/1189/

Review of Nanotechnology and Public Opinion
Nanowerk Spotlight recently published an article by Prof. Dietram A. Scheufele of the College of Agricultural & Life Sciences at the Univ. of Wisconsin reviewing the history and current state of public opinion about nanotechnology. He reports on two trends in public knowledge about nanotech, viz., “levels of knowledge about nanotechnology across the general population have remained fairly static in the last few years; and, there is a widening gap among education groups, with highly educated individuals showing increased learning over time, and less-educated respondents falling behind in terms of how much they know about nanotechnology.” The paper has an extensive list of references.
Source:
Nanotechnology and public opinion http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=19819.php

Article Suggests More Regulation Would Benefit Nanotech Development
A recent post on an Environmental Defense Fund blog suggests, “…a little regulation would have done – and still could do – the world of nanotechnology a world of good.” concluding that “A little regulation could go a long way toward restoring confidence in our ability to produce and use these emerging materials in a manner that reaps the benefits and avoids the harm they may otherwise cause.”
Source:
Regulating nanomaterials to life, not death http://blogs.edf.org/nanotechnology/2011/01/28/regulating-nanomaterials-to-life-not-death/

NanoHealth and Safety Center Created at Univ. at Albany
SEMATECH, a global consortium of chipmakers, its subsidiary, the International SEMATECH Manufacturing Initiative, Inc. (ISMI), and the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) of the University at Albany (SUNY Albany) have announced the creation of the world's first NanoHealth and Safety Center (NSC), at CNSE's Albany NanoTech Complex. Its initial challenges will include occupational and environmental health and safety, and resource utilization.
Source:
SEMATECH, ISMI and UAlbany NanoCollege partner to launch groundbreaking NanoHealth and Safety Center http://www.cnse.albany.edu/newsroom/newsreleases/11-02-15/SEMATECH_ISMI_and_UAlbany_NanoCollege_partner_to_launch_groundbreaking_NanoHealth_and_Safety_Center.aspx

Zimbabwe Starts National Nanotechnology Programme
The Zimbabwe Ministry of Science and Technology has adopted a National Nanotechnology Programme, in partnership with the Zimbabwe Academy of Sciences and the Zimbabwe Research Council, to help guide local industry in taking advantage of the emerging technology.
Source:
Zim Adopts Nanotechnology Programme http://www.newsday.co.zw/article/2011-01-27-zim-adopts-nanotechnology-programme

Nanotech Conferences to Examine Current and Future Problems
- A conference The Biggest Issues for the Smallest Stuff: Regulation and Risk Management of Nanotechnology is being held 21 March 2011 in Phoenix AZ, featuring experts from government, industry, non-governmental organizations, the insurance industry and academia, who will examine recent trends and challenges in regulation and risk management of nanotechnology.
Nanotechnology regulation conference to tackle big policy questions for the small science http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=20166.php
The Biggest Issues for the Smallest Stuff: Regulation and Risk Management of Nanotechnology http://lsi.law.asu.edu/nanoregulation/

- The National Nanotechnology Coordination Office will hold Bridging NanoEHS Research Efforts - a joint US-EU Workshop on March 10-11, 2011, to provide an open forum and engage in an active scientific discussion about nano EHS, to encourage joint US-EU programs of work that would leverage resources, and to establish communities of research practice, between key U.S. and EU researchers for near-term and future collaborations. Registration for the workshop is closed, but proceedings will be available later at www.nano.gov.
National Nanotechnology Coordination Office: Bridging NanoEHS Research Efforts - a joint US-EU Workshop http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=20179.php
US-EU Bridging NanoEHS Research Efforts http://www.nano.gov/html/meetings/us-eu/index.html

-The International Conference on Frontiers of Characterization and Metrology for Nanoelectronics 2011 (IC-FCMN 2011) will be held 23-26 May 2011 at MINATEC, an international center for micro- and nanotechnologies, in Grenoble, France.
International Conference on Frontiers of Characterization and Metrology for Nanoelectronics Set for May 23-26 http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=20181.php
Frontiers of Characterization and Metrology for Nanoelectronics www.nist.gov/pml/semiconductor/conference

Reports and Information Suggested for Review

Evaluation of BioWatch (Biowarfare Detection) System and Upgrades
BioWatch and Public Health Surveillance: Evaluating Systems for the Early Detection of Biological Threats: Abbreviated Version by the National Academies is an evaluation of the federal monitoring system for rapid detection of specific biological agents during a biological attack. The report is a comprehensive evaluation of the cost-effectiveness of the current BioWatch program and the planned new generation of BioWatch devices, while also assessing whether BioWatch and traditional infectious disease surveillance systems are redundant or complementary.
Source:
BioWatch and Public Health Surveillance: Evaluating Systems for the Early Detection of Biological Threats: Abbreviated Version http://books.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12688#description

Earthquakes and Corruption
The study “Corruption kills” by Nicholas Ambraseys and Roger Bilham, published in the journal Nature (volume 469), assesses the link between governance and casualties due to building structures and quality. It shows that in impoverished areas, where corruption is rampant, substandard building materials are routinely used in order to cut costs and gain greater profits. This places the people who live and work in those buildings at risk in the event of a natural disaster. Using data from the last 30 years, the authors found that 83% of deaths that occurred from building collapses in earthquakes happened in countries where corruption is an issue. They contend that “there is statistical support for widespread anecdotal evidence of a correlation between corruption and loss of life in earthquakes” and that this data supports widely-voiced opinions that the number of deaths resulting from earthquakes is likely to correspond to the ability to afford quality building materials and enforce standards for building earthquake-resistant structures, rather than the geology of the area.
Sources:
Ambraseys, Nicholas & Roger Bilham (13 January 2011). “Corruption kills.” Nature 469 http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v469/n7329/full/469153a.html.
Tackle corruption to cut earthquake deaths http://www.scidev.net/en/agriculture-and-environment/natural-disasters/opinions/tackle-corruption-to-cut-earthquake-deaths.html

Back to Top

January 2011

An Emerging Nordic-Baltic Alliance Might Have Security Implications
The first Nordic-Baltic Summit was held in London, January 19-20, 2011 to establish a regional “alliance” for addressing issues of common interest. The Summit was attended by the leaders of Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden, and the host, the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron. Reportedly, one of the outcomes is building an energy “supergrid” to link suppliers of renewable energy. A follow-up summit is planned for Sweden in 2012. Although the Summit’s focus was on economic and social issues, speculations are that the alliance will be expanded to security issues. In the meantime, Nordic foreign ministers will hold an April meeting in Helsinki to discuss prospects for a “NATO-type” defense pact to address Arctic-related security issues. Since there are conflicting national jurisdictions over the Arctic, and global warming is expected to open shipping and access to large gas and oil resources, new agreements seem necessary to prevent future conflicts.
Sources:
UK: Northern summit was not anti-European http://euobserver.com/19/31677
Nordic Baltic Summit http://uknordicbaltic.readandcomment.com/
Arctic NATO to watch the Russians http://english.pravda.ru/world/europe/20-01-2011/116584-arctic_nato-0/
UK-Nordic-Baltic Summit to form new "alliance" http://www.baltictimes.com/news/articles/27816/

International Air Cargo Screening Cooperation Requested
The executive director of the Airforwarders Association cargo industry group asked the U.S. Transportation Security Administration to bring shipping countries together to share screening methods for inbound international packages on passenger planes to meet deadlines. The lack of international standardized procedures impedes the implementation of a global system.
Source:
TSA Wants Countries to Cooperate on Air Cargo Screening: Industry Official http://gsn.nti.org/gsn/nw_20110124_5589.php

Fuel efficiency standards are changing around the world
UNEP in cooperation with other agencies has developed guidelines on sustainable procurement of vehicles for the UN. Recent reports by international organizations are pointing to the need for globally harmonized standards for assessing the efficiency of different fuels and relevant new technologies. The UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) report Motor Systems Efficiency Supply Curves notes the lack of a transparent methodology for quantifying the energy efficiency of motor systems and insufficient data for documenting present and future cost effectiveness potentials. The International Energy Agency’s 50by50 Prospects and Progress report calls for global fuel economy reduction to about 8L/100km with emissions halved in new automobiles by 2030 and in all automobiles by 2050 (by the Global Fuel Economy Initiative). A European expert group states that alternative fuels could replace fossil fuels by 2050. A RAND Corporation study Alternative Fuels for Military Applications concludes thatthe military should direct its efforts more towards increasing energy efficiency rather than investing in alternative fuels.
Sources:
Buying Better Vehicles for the UN http://www.greeningtheblue.org/news/buying-better-vehicles-un
New report gives green light to the feasibility of halving carbon emissions from new cars by 2030 http://www.iea.org/index_info.asp?id=1775
Clean Transport Systems http://ec.europa.eu/transport/urban/vehicles/road/clean_transport_systems_en.htm
RAND study concludes use of alternative fuels by US military would convey no direct military benefit; recommends energy efficiency instead http://www.greencarcongress.com/2011/01/rand-20110125.html

Prosecution of Pillage of Natural Resources as War Crime
At a conference held in The Hague, under the auspices of the Open Society Institute’s Justice Initiative in coordination with the Dutch and Canadian governments, lawyers and human rights activists suggested legal instruments for prosecuting pillage of natural resources as a war crime. While this would primarily apply to companies profiting from the trade of “conflict minerals” and to cases that use resulting revenue to fund armed conflict, concerns also include environmental degradation and social aspects. The most notorious situation is the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Other countries on the “watch list” include: Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and Turkey. In a related development, the U.S. Dodd-Frank Act (H.R. 4173) becomes effective on April 11, 2011. It includes a clause requiring companies to report on the use of certain minerals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and neighboring countries. Non-compliance will be fined. [Related item: Natural Resources Fuel Violence in Eastern D.R. Congo in September 2010 environmental security report.]
Sources:
Firms Linked to Conflict Minerals May Face Prosecution http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/jan2011/2011-01-03-02.html
‘Conflict Mineral’ Strategy Emerging http://wardsauto.com/ar/conflict_mineral_strategy_101228/
Digging In: Recent Developments on Conflict Minerals http://www.enoughproject.org/publications/digging-in-conflict-minerals
Conflict minerals law could push prices higher - MSCI ESG http://www.miningweekly.com/article/conflict-minerals-law-could-push-prices-higher---mcsi-esg-2011-01-21

Technological Advances with Environmental Security Implications

Flexible Supercapacitor Could Power Wearable Environmental Sensors
Prof. Zhong Lin Wang of the Georgia Inst. of Technology and Jong Min Kim of South Korea’s Samsung Electronics claim development of a prototype flexible supercapacitor that can be incorporated into textiles. The devices use zinc oxide nanowires as electrodes. Combined with their previously developed flexible fiber nanogenerators, these units could power wearable environmental sensors.
Source:
T-Shirt replaces battery: Fiber-based electrochemical micro-supercapacitor http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-01-t-shirt-battery-fiber-based-electrochemical-micro-supercapacitor.html

Nanoimprint May Create Synthetic, Chemical-Free, Anti-Bacterial Surfaces
Singapore’s A*STAR Industrial Consortium On Nanoimprint and collaborating organizations are working on a project to create synthetic, chemical-free, anti-bacterial surfaces that can protect external structures from harboring pathogenic organisms. The nanoimprint technology creates complex nanometer-sized patterns on surfaces to mimic the texture of natural contaminant-repelling materials.
Sources:
Singapore consortium learns from nature to produce new chemical-free, anti-bacteria plastic 'skins' http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=19556.php
I.C.O.N. Project #2 : Towards Anti-Bacterial Surfaces http://www.imre.a-star.edu.sg/nil/project2.pdf

Potential Bioweapon Countermeasure against Ebola and Marburg Virus
Scientists of the University of Illinois at Chicago have identified a family of small molecules that apparently inhibit the Ebola and Marburg virus entry into human cells. Although not a cure, the breakthrough could represent a potential bioweapon countermeasure against use of those agents.
Source:
Small Molecules May Prevent Ebola Infection http://tigger.uic.edu/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/newsbureau/cgi-bin/index.cgi?from=Releases&to=Release&id=3111&start=1287856211&end=1295632211&topic=0&dept=0

Charged Particle Generators Produce Desert “Rainstorms”
Scientists from the Swiss company Metro Systems International, working in the United Arab Emirates, have been trying to produce rainfall in the desert. Their system uses electronic ion generators to produce charged dust particles, which rise in the atmosphere and attract moisture that then falls as rain. Their claim of having created at least 52 specific “rain storm events” with this system has been met with some skepticism, although most of the storms were in July and August, when usually there is no rain at all.
Source:
Technology created 50 rainstorms in Abu Dhabi's Al Ain region last year http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1343470/Have-scientists-discovered-create-downpours-desert.html

New Detection and Cleanup Techniques

Spectrometer Provides Accurate Beta/Gamma Detection in 15 Minutes
Profs. David Hamby and Abi Farsoni of Oregon State Univ. have announced development of a new type of radiation spectrometer that can take as little as 15 minutes to determine the type and amount of beta- and gamma-emitting radionuclides present in materials such as soil. The development will be commercialized by Avicenna Instruments, of Corvallis, Oregon.
Source:
New technology to speed cleanup of nuclear contaminated sites http://www.physorg.com/news/2010-12-technology-cleanup-nuclear-contaminated-sites.html

Molecular Imprinted Polymers Provide Basis for Sensors of Multiple Compounds
Prof, Rigoberto Advincula and colleagues of the Depts. of Chemistry, and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Univ, of Houston, are developing a family of sensors based on molecular imprinted polymers, which can be tailored to show an affinity for certain chemicals. These materials, prepared by electropolymerization directly on a gold surface, can form the basis for sensitive detectors for hazardous compounds in the environment.
Sources:
Sensors to detect explosives, monitor food http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=19807.php
Electropolymerized Molecularly Imprinted Polymer Films of a Bis-Terthiophene Dendron: Folic Acid Quartz Crystal Microbalance Sensing http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/am100805y

Water Testing and Cleaning Techniques
Scientists at the Univ. of Central Florida, led by Prof. J. Manuel Perez, have developed a fast, sensitive, and probably less expensive test for cholera toxin in water. The test uses the sugar dextran coated with iron oxide nanoparticles, with a positive result detected by magnetic relaxation measurements.
ABSMaterials, Inc. of Wooster, OH is offering water purification systems based on the properties of a new swellable nano-structured glass, Osorb®, developed at the College of Wooster. In a demonstration, the material expands to eight times its original volume in the presence of hydrocarbons, purifying a gasoline-tainted sample of drinking water for consumption.
Sources:
Special Sugar, Nanoparticles Combine to Detect Cholera Toxin http://news.ucf.edu/UCFnews/index?page=article&id=00240041052a2b5bb012d4490764900622f
Identification of Molecular-Mimicry-Based Ligands for Cholera Diagnostics using Magnetic Relaxation http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/bc100442q
NSF Webcast: Water and Oil Everywhere, and Now it's Safe to Drink http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=118400&WT.mc_id=USNSF_51&WT.mc_ev=click

Environment-friendly Cement Processes
New Cement Process Greatly Reduces Energy Load and CO2 Emission
A project led by chemist Peter Stemmermann at Germany’s Karlsruhe Institute of Technology reports a new variety of cement called Celitement. It requires less energy to manufacture and emits less CO2 in the production process. Cement manufacturing is responsible for about 5% of global CO2 emissions.
Sources:
New Chemistry, Less Energy Could Yield Greener Cement http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/energy/2010/12/101209-green-cement-energy-greenhouse-gas/
Celitement GmbH http://www.celitement.com/en/

Sustainable Method to Recycle Rubble into Durable Construction Material
Researchers at Georgia Tech describe a technique to recycle such building debris as that from the Haiti earthquake into a strong concrete material using sands and other natural materials widely available locally. While concerns remain about the variable quality of the concrete rubble and local materials, and the need to conduct further research on recycled concrete in general, lab tests show the new building substance “meets or exceeds the minimum strength standards defined by the American Concrete Institute and used in the U.S.”
Sources:
Researchers Find Method for Recycling Rubble, Rebuilding Haiti http://www.gatech.edu/newsroom/release.html?nid=63746
The American Ceramic Society Jan-Feb 2011 Bulletin http://ceramics.org/publications-and-resources/the-bulletin/
Breaking Haiti’s the reconstruction logjam: Progress through rubble reuse http://americanceramicsociety.org/bulletin/2011_pdf_files/jan_feb_11/#/22/

Updates on Previously Identified Issues

UN Review of Sustainable Development in Preparation for Rio+20 in 2012
The First Intersessional Meeting for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in preparation for the Rio+20 to be held in 2012 took place January 10-11, 2011. The advanced unedited version of the Synthesis Report presented to the delegates is a comprehensive assessment on the implementation of Agenda 21 and the Barbados Programme of Action, based on feedback from member states and UN agencies. It identifies, “Low political priority for integrated decision making…” (para. 44) as nations’ most important challenge, while, “Unclear mandates, low accountability, competition for funds, conflicting interests, the absence of institutional mechanisms for joint work and collaboration all exacerbate these [implementation] problems, which are also reflected in the UN system.” (para. 50) [Related item: UN Reform Report Stresses Environmental Issues in March 2005 environmental security report.]
Sources:
The United Nations General Assembly advanced unedited copy of the Synthesis Report http://www.earthsummit2012.org/index.php/news/313-synthesis-report-231210
First Intersessional Meeting for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development http://www.uncsd2012.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=73&Itemid=124

More Aggressive Action Needed to Curb Ozone Depletions
In The Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion 2010 by UN, EU, and US organizations present a comprehensive analysis of the effect of stratospheric ozone changes on the Earth’s surface climate and of the effects of climate change on stratospheric ozone. It also includes several scenarios, finding that leakage from ozone-depleting substance (ODS) banks are the largest source of current ozone-depleting potential and warns that delaying capture and destruction of chlorinated fluorocarbon compound (CFC) bank leakage beyond 2011-2015 could reduce the possible ozone and climate benefits by about 30%. The report also includes policy options and recommendations. [Related item: Call for Expanding Montreal Protocol on Ozone-Depleting Substances in September 2007 environmental security report.]
Sources:
The 2010 Assessment of the Scientific Assessment Panel http://ozone.unep.org/Assessment_Panels/SAP/Scientific_Assessment_2010/index.shtml
Ozone Secretariat Releases 2010 Scientific Assessment Report http://climate-l.iisd.org/news/ozone-secretariat-releases-2010-scientific-assessment-report/?referrer=climate-change-daily-feed

The Battle for Rare Earth Elements Continues
The Chinese Ministry of Land and Resources again tightened control over the rare earth mineral supply by taking under central control 11 mining districts in the south of the country, applying a seldom-used mining law. It suggested that this is only a first step of a larger process that will place additional districts under the national government control. The move is justified for addressing potential illegal strip-mining and refining of rare earths, and environmental degradation (including contamination of fields and waterways with powerful acids and other materials). Reportedly, export quotas for the first half of 2011 were cut by 35%, in addition to a 72% reduction in the second half of 2010. Tougher regulations, production quotas, and export restrictions, combined with rising international demand triggered rising prices (e.g. the price of neodymium—used in Toyota’s Prius hybrid car—rose to $80 a kilogram from $19 in 2009.)
A Japanese government-backed enterprise plans to deploy remote-controlled robots to mine rare earth elements up to a depth of 6,600 ft. from the seabed in proximity to the Izu and Ogasawara island chain and southwestern Okinawa islands. The project is targeting seabed volcanoes in search of minerals released from hydrothermal vents. Precious metals and methane hydrate, a potential next-generation fuel, are also a potential area of focus. [Related item: Chinese Rare Earth Restrictions in September 2010 environmental security report.]
Sources:
China Seizes Rare Earth Mine Areas http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/21/business/global/21rare.html
Rare Earth Metals Leave Toxic Trail to Toyota, Vestas http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-01-06/rare-earth-metals-leave-toxic-trail-to-toyota-vestas.html
Japan deep-sea robots to seek minerals: report http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-01-japan-deep-sea-robots-minerals.html

EU to Set Resource Efficiency Targets
The European Commission is preparing a "roadmap" in the form of a set of resource efficiency targets to be published at mid-2011. It is expected that member states will be required to limit their consumption of fuels, minerals, and water, among other resources, potentially linked to the “European Semester” system for monitoring member state budgets. [Related item: European Climate and Energy Package Formally Adopted in April 2009 environmental security report.]
Source:
EU moots link between resource efficiency and budgetary targets http://euobserver.com/9/31704/?rk=1

NATO Continues to Develop Cyber Defense Policies
NATO nations’ Senior National Policy Advisors held a meeting in Brussels, January 25, 2011, assessing ways of using NATO assets and capabilities for further developing the Alliance’s cyber defense policy and common defense system against cyber threats. “There simply can be no true security without cyber security,” noted NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, highlighting that this meeting is an “important part of getting ahead of the cyber curve.” Cyber security is also identified as an increasing challenge in NATO’s New Strategic Concept. [Related items: The EU Strengthens Legislation to Counter Cybercrime in December 2010, and NATO’s New Strategic Concept Includes Environmental Security in November 2010 environmental security reports.]
Source:
Developing NATO’s cyber defence policy http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/news_70049.htm

India Urges Strengthening Outer Space Treaty
The “Space, Science, and Security” conference held in New Delhi, January 19-21, 2011, addressed eventual updates to the Outer Space Treaty to better address security aspects. Keynote speaker Air Chief Marshal S. Krishnaswamy, India’s former head of the Air Force, in addition to amendments to the Treaty, suggested establishing, “a strong policing force in the UN,” to prevent militarization of space. He underlined that the new amendments should specifically outlaw installing nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, as well as establishing military bases or conducting testing or military maneuvers in space or on celestial bodies. However, any research and use of equipment for peaceful purposes shall not be prohibited. The conference was organized by Observer Research Foundation, Secure World Foundation, and Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. [Related item: Steps for an International Regime for Space Debris and Space Traffic Control System in May 2009 environmental security report.]
Sources:
Plug holes in UN 'Outer Space Treaty', says former Air Chief http://news.oneindia.in/2011/01/19/plugholes-in-un-outer-space-treaty-says-former-airchief-aid0121.html
Space, Science, and Security: The Role of Regional Expert Discussions New Delhi, January 19-21 http://swfound.org/events/2011/space,-science,-and-security-the-role-of-regional-expert-discussions

Climate Change
Scientific Evidence and Natural Disasters
2010 was one of the two warmest years on record (tied with 2005), and the 34th consecutive year above the 20th century average, announced the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) based on data from the UK Meteorological Office Hadley Center, NOAA, and NASA. Exceptionally warmer regions included much of Africa and southern and western Asia, Greenland, and Arctic Canada, with some sub-regions registering temperatures 1.2 to 1.4°C (2.2 to 2.5°F) above the long-term average. The WMO also notes that 2001-2010 was the warmest decade on record, with the global average 0.46°C above the 1961-1990 average. WMO also underlines the high number of extreme weather events in 2010, including severe floods in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Brazil and Australia, as well as the heat wave in Russia.
2010 was also one of the deadliest years of the least two decades, according to the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters. There were 373 disasters registered, which killed 296,800 people, affected 207 million, and caused damages estimated to $109 billion. Some 89% of all those affected by disasters in 2010 lived in Asia. Similarly, according to Munich Re, 2010 natural catastrophes killed 295,000 people, costing approximately $130 billion. By its standards, there were 950 natural disasters in 2010 (365 in the Americas, 310 in Asia, 120 in Europe, 90 in Africa and 65 in Australia and Oceania); 90% were weather-related. The other major reinsurer, Swiss Re, reported that man-made and natural disasters in 2010 caused worldwide economic losses of $222 billion, more than three times more than in 2009.
Mapping the impacts of natural hazards and technological accidents in Europe, a report by the European Environment Agency, found that the number and impacts of disasters in Europe have increased over the period 1998-2009, causing nearly 100,000 fatalities and economic losses of about €150 billion (approx. $200 billion). It warns that losses due to climate change are likely to increase in the future.

Food and Water Security
The sixth edition of the Global Risk report by the World Economic Forum identifies the "water-food-energy" nexus as one of three key clusters of risks (the other two being macroeconomic imbalances and illegal economy). The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced that food prices hit a record high in December 2010. Its Food Price Index was 214.7, the highest since 1990 when it was created. In its report Guide for Policy and Programmatic Action at Country Level to Address High Food Price, FAO urges countries to refrain from export bans and other actions that could exacerbate the current food crisis. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of Indonesia, warned that the next economic war could be over scarce resources, if problems of rising food prices, poverty and population growth are not addressed and urged that food security must be a G20 priority.

Melting glaciers and sea ice
The WMO reports that Arctic sea-ice cover in December 2010 was the lowest on record, with an average monthly extent of 12 million square kilometers, 1.35 million square kilometers below the 1979-2000 average for December. Greenland also experienced record surface melting and runoff in 2010, with the annual melting season up to 50 days longer than the average observed between 1979 and 2009, and with summer snowfall below average, notes an international group of researchers in a study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, on January 21, 2011.

Health
An Animal Migration and Infectious Disease Risk study published in Science magazine, warns about potential change of patterns of infectious diseases and their transmission from animals to humans due to climate change and environmental degradation, changes of migration patterns, and greater interaction between human and animal habitat.

Computer Modeling and Scenarios
A computer modeling of climate change to the year 3000 shows that even with zero CO2 emissions beginning in 2100, climate change effects will continue for the next 1,000 years. Regional changes in temperature and precipitation would still be considerable, although the global mean temperature would likely remain the same. The West Antarctic Ice Sheet would collapse by 3000, raising global sea levels by approximately 4 meters. The model was produced by researchers at the Univ. of Victoria and Univ. of Calgary in Canada.
Sources:
It’s Official: 2010 in a Statistical Tie for Warmest Year On Record http://www.climatecentral.org/news/its-official-2010-in-a-statistical-tie-for-warmest-year-on-record/
2010 equals record for world’s warmest year http://www.wmo.int/pages/mediacentre/press_releases/pr_906_en.html
Overall picture of natural catastrophes in 2010 – Very severe earthquakes and many severe weather events http://www.munichre.com/en/media_relations/press_releases/2011/2011_01_03_press_release.aspx
Mapping the impacts of natural hazards and technological accidents in Europe' http://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/mapping-the-impacts-of-natural
Global Risk 2011 http://riskreport.weforum.org/
Policy guide for countries hit hard by high food prices http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/49954/icode/
Indonesia's President says food security must be G20 priority http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gmhg0nKzrqDTGK9ww6o9bUkohyGQ?docId=CNG.7cf561b86d25fb9fcfc035de4e9a829a.f1
2010 equals record for world’s warmest year http://www.wmo.int/pages/mediacentre/press_releases/pr_906_en.html
Greenland's ice feels the heat in record-setting 2010 http://www.nytimes.com/cwire/2011/01/21/21climatewire-greenlands-ice-feels-the-heat-in-record-sett-93789.html
Animal Migration and Infectious Disease Risk. Science 331, 6015: pp. 296-302 http://www.sciencemag.org/content/331/6015/296.full?ijkey=uTHIpzF2u3UUw&keytype=ref&siteid=sci
Ongoing climate change following a complete cessation of carbon dioxide emissions http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ngeo1047.html

Nanotechnology Safety Issues
ISO Published Standard for Inhalation Toxicity Testing of Nanoparticles
The International Organization for Standards (ISO) has published an International Standard to support the inhalation toxicity testing of nanoparticles: ISO 10808:2010, Nanotechnologies – Characterization of nanoparticles in inhalation exposure chambers for inhalation toxicity testing. An ISO official states, “In order to test inhalation toxicity it is necessary to monitor concentration, size and size-distribution of nanoscale particles in an inhalation chamber. Traditional methods used in other areas are considered insufficient for testing nanoparticles since parameters specific to them like particle surface area or number, might be crucial determinants of toxicity.”
Sources:
How toxic are nanoparticles? New ISO standard helps find out http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=19862.php
ISO 10808:2010 Nanotechnologies -- Characterization of nanoparticles in inhalation exposure chambers for inhalation toxicity testing http://www.iso.org/iso/catalogue_detail?csnumber=46130

Transatlantic Partners to Analyze Environmental Safety and health (EHS) for Manufactured Nanomaterials
According to Nanowerk News, in Phase 2 of the Environmental Nanoscience Initiative, scientists from the UK and the US will collaborate on three major research projects:

Sources:
Transatlantic partners to analyse environment and health risks of manufactured nanomaterials http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=19871.php

Thailand Moves Toward Nanotechnology Safety and Ethics Strategy Plan
According to Nanowerk News, the Thai National Nanotechnology Center, NANOTEC, and the Nanotechnology Assoc. of Thailand are working on the country's first strategy plan on nanotech safety and ethics, to be submitted to the government in 2011, with full regulation expected in five years.
Source:
Thailand pushing forward on nanosafety regulations http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=19736.php

Review of the Long History of Nanosilver Usage and Regulation, and Implications
A recent paper, 120 Years of Nanosilver History: Implications for Policy Makers, points out that nanosilver in the form of colloidal silver has been used for more than a century and has been registered as a biocidal material in the U.S. since 1954, and states, "it would be a mistake for regulators to ignore the accumulated knowledge of our scientific and regulatory heritage in a bid to declare nanosilver materials as new chemicals, with unknown properties and automatically harmful simply on the basis of a change in nomenclature to the term ‘nano.’”
Source:
Environmental Science & Technology Article Reviews History of Nanosilver and Policy Implications http://nanotech.lawbc.com/2011/01/articles/united-states/federal/environmental-science-technology-article-reviews-history-of-nanosilver-and-policy-implications/

Study Shows TiO2 Nanoparticles Disrupt Aquatic Ecosystems
A paper by environmental engineers April Gu and Carla Cherchi of Northeastern University in Boston reports that titanium dioxide nanoparticles, at the levels found in wastewater, “…could disrupt an aquatic ecosystem’s carbon and nitrogen cycles”, after experiments using a blue-green alga, Anabaena variabilis.
Sources:
TiO2 Nanoparticles in the Environment http://sites.merid.org/nanodev/more.php?articleID=2909
TiO2 Nanoparticles in the Environment (study) http://pubs.acs.org/cen/news/88/i40/8840news5.html

Nanotech Insight Conference to Be Held in Cairo, 27 February – 2 March
The Nanotech Insight Conference is to be held in Cairo, 27 February – 2 March 2011. One of the listed topics is Nano Ethics / Environmental Impact. According to the announcement, the conference aims, "…to integrate the scientific and ethical aspects of nanoscience and technology where lasting relationships between scientists, technologists and legislators in the developed and developing areas of the planet may be formed."
Source:
Nanotech Insight Conference http://www.nanoinsight.sabrycorp.com/conf/nanoinsight/11/index.cfm

EU Launches Public Consultation on Risk Assessment of Nanomaterials in Food
According to Nanowerk News, “…the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has launched a public consultation on its draft guidance document for engineered nanomaterial (ENM) applications in food and feed … [that] sets out for applicants, the data needed to understand the specific properties of the ENM, allowing a risk assessment to be carried out.”
Source:
European Food Safety Authority launches public consultation on risk assessment of nanomaterials in food and feed http://nanotech.lawbc.com/2011/01/articles/international/efsa-begins-public-consultation-on-draft-guidance-on-risk-assessment-for-nanoscience-and-nanotechnologies/

Reports and Information Suggested for Review Comprehensive Assessment of Environmental Security
Environmental Security: A Guide to the Issues by Elizabeth L. Chalecki is a comprehensive overview of environmental security issues and discourse. It addresses the security implications of shortages and abundance of natural resources, the international ramifications of food security, the social impacts of changes of the global ecosystem due to climate change, and the effects of war and preparation for war on the natural environment. The book also, “…explores how nations can, and must, cooperate with each other to confront and manage these threats.”
Source:
Environmental Security. A Guide to the Issues http://www.greenwood.com/books/printFlyer.aspx?sku=A3197C

New Global Land Cover Maps
A global land cover map was created by European Space Agency and the Belgian Université Catholique de Louvain using 12 months of 2009 data from Envisat’s Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer at a resolution of 300 m. (http://ionia1.esrin.esa.int/)
A pan-European land cover and use map for 2009 created by ESA’s GlobCorine project is now available on-line. (http://ionia1.esrin.esa.int/globcorine/)
The first regional atlas on the state of the environment in Latin America and the Caribbean, with more than 200 images illustrating the principal environmental issues of the region was prepared by UNEP in cooperation with others. (http://www.cathalac.org/lac_atlas/)
The new on-line National Atlas of the U.S. produced by the USGS has scores of layers covering a wide range of environmental topics. (http://nationalatlas.gov/)

Evolution of Environmental Management Philosophy in China
The paper The Evolution of Environmental Management Philosophy Under Rapid Economic Development in China published in AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment, seems to be a comprehensive assessment of China’s approach to environmental matters, mainly from an energy needs point of view.
Source:
The Evolution of Environmental Management Philosophy Under Rapid Economic Development in China (only preview available; purchase or subscription required for full text) http://www.springerlink.com/content/72l5678t41281v40/

Back to Top


December 2010

Germany to Propose Adding Climate Change to UN Security Council Agenda
Germany will join the UN Security Council for two years beginning in January as one of ten non-permanent members. During this time it is expected to urge this UN body to begin addressing climate change as a global security threat. This view is shared by many other UN members, as evidence of the security implications of climate change mount, and environmental security is becoming part of the security agenda of states and international security organizations. The UN General Assembly December 15, 2010 session focused on improving the coordination of efforts in case of disasters, including those associated with natural hazards. [Related items: UK Initiates UN Security Council Debate on Climate Change and Security in April 2007, and UN General Assembly Stressed Environment-related Issues in September 2008 environmental security reports.]
Sources:
Security Council must tackle climate change: Germany
http://www.france24.com/en/20101213-security-council-must-tackle-climate-change-germany
Surge in Demand for Humanitarian Assistance in High-Risk Environments Informs General Assembly Debate on Strengthening UN Disaster Relief Assistance
http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs//2010/ga11038.doc.htm

Cancún UN Climate Change Conference Consolidates Progress
The UN Climate Change Conference held in Cancún, Mexico, November 29-December 10, 2010, included the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the 6th session of Conference of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. Although no legally-binding outcomes emerged, the “Cancún Agreements” helped to reverse the pessimism from the stalled negotiations during the Copenhagen conference on climate change. The Cancún Agreements include: 1) long-term cooperative action for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and eventually keeping global warming under 2ºC by the end of the century; 2) improved monitoring and reporting of national commitments by developed and developing countries; 3) enhanced action for adaptation, including establishing the Cancun Adaptation Framework, an Adaptation Committee, and a work program on loss and damages; 4) creation of the Green Climate Fund with a pledge of $100 billion a year by 2020 to help developing countries reduce emissions and adapt to climate change; 5) acceleration of technology transfer; 6) strengthening of REDD+ (reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) for lowering (or not raising) rates of deforestation (including fair treatment of indigenous people); and 7) capacity building. There were also around 20 other decisions covering administrative, financial, and institutional matters. The next Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC is scheduled to be held in Durban, South Africa, November 28‑December 9, 2011.
Sources:
The outcome documents of the COP16:
http://unfccc.int/conference_documents/items/5776.php
Back from the brink
http://www.economist.com/node/17730564
An Ethical Analysis of the Cancun Climate Negotiations Outcome.
http://rockblogs.psu.edu/climate/2010/12/an-ethical-analysis-of-the-cancun-climate-negotiations-outcome.html

The EU Strengthens Legislation to Counter Cybercrime
The European Commission is developing legislation for criminalizing cyber attacks. A proposed Directive addressing cyber crimes is supplemented by a proposal for strengthening the European Network and Information Security Agency. The strategy also includes setting up a 24-hour alert system in each member state, where citizens and companies can announce attacks. The EU’s anti-terrorism coordinator Gilles de Kerckhove said that “state-driven or state-sponsored attacks” are identified as the highest risk to cyber security. He also warned that while having an international “code of conduct” regulating the use of cyberspace would be helpful, an international legally binding treaty could also legitimize state controls over content. Cybercrime is also identified in the EU Internal Security Strategy action plan as one of the five main areas needing more coordinated strategy to help member countries counter rapidly developing security threats—along with organized crime, international terrorism, borders’ management, and response to natural and man-made crises and disasters. It is likely that the international discussions over coordinated action to counter cybercrime will accelerate and lead to some binding legal frameworks. [Related item: International Legal Frameworks Needed for Cybersecurity in April 2010 environmental security report.]
Sources:
Commissioner concerned about cyber-attacks on WikiLeaks
http://euobserver.com/9/31409/?rk=1
Commission to boost Europe's defences against cyber-attacks
http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/10/1239&format=HTML&aged=1&language=EN&guiLanguage=en
For a more secure Europe
http://ec.europa.eu/news/external_relations/101122_en.htm

The ICC to Establish an Independent Oversight Mechanism
The 9th session of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, held December 6–10, 2010, was attended by representatives of the 114 ICC States Party and over 150 NGOs. The decisions adopted include a resolution on creating an Independent Oversight Mechanism and its operational mandate, to enhance the Court’s efficiency. The IOM’s working procedures will be set out in a manual over the coming year, to be adopted at the next Assembly of States Parties, in December 2011. An omnibus resolution, “Strengthening the International Criminal Court and the Assembly of States Parties,” covers a wide range of policy and practical issues relating to the ICC and international criminal justice. [Related item: Updates of the Rome Statute Include Amendments on the Crime of Aggression and Expansion of Criminalizing the Use of Certain Weapons in Non-international Conflicts in July 2010 environmental security report.]
Sources:
9th Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC, Official documents
http://www.icc-cpi.int/nr/exeres/f16c9b3e-55a6-4989-8987-f57125a0d306.htm
Assembly of States Parties concludes its ninth session
http://www.icc-cpi.int/Menus/ASP/Press+Releases/Press+Releases+2010/Assembly+of+States+Parties+concludes+its+ninth+session.htm

Technological Advances with Environmental Security Implications
Improved Plastic Recycling
Warwick Ventures at the University of Warwick, Coventry, England, has announced a new technology, using pyrolysis and fluidized beds that they claim will allow the recycling of 100% of household plastics instead of only 11% processed today (as measured in the U.K.).
Source:
Researchers: New tech could recycle all household plastics
http://www.smartplanet.com/people/blog/pure-genius/new-tech-could-recycle-100-percent-of-household-plastics-even-holiday-wrap/5195/

New Detection and Cleanup Techniques
Electrified Nanotube-Fabric Filter Offers Cheap, Fast Water Purification
The abstract of a research paper by Prof. Yi Cui of the Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering at Stanford University and colleagues states that an inexpensive, fast acting electrical water purification system has been developed using silver nanowires and carbon nanotubes on a cotton base. This operates at 100,000 L/(h × m2) and can deactivate >98% of bacteria within several seconds. The deactivation is achieved by large electric field concentrations near the silver nanowire tips.
Sources:
High-speed filter uses electrified nanostructures to purify water at low cost
http://www.rdmag.com/News/2010/08/Materials-Nanotechnology-High-speed-filter-uses-electrified-nanostructures-to-purify-water-at-low-cost/
High Speed Water Sterilization Using One-Dimensional Nanostructures (Abstract)
http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/nl101944e

Russian Enterprise to Mass Produce Low Cost Detectors for More than 40 Substances
The Russian firm Neutron Technologies has received funding for a project that will mass produce detectors of explosives and narcotics, using labeled neutron technology. The detectors are designed to operate in any kind of surroundings, can identify more than 40 different kinds of explosives, narcotics, and highly toxic substances, and are claimed to be significantly less expensive and more effective by numerous measures than other countries’ offerings.
Source:
RUSNANO Funds Project for Detectors of Explosives and Narcotics
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=19545.php

Marine Bacteria Which Can Metabolize Steel Discovered
A new species of bacteria was discovered corroding the Titanic. The newly identified species, while potentially dangerous to vital underwater installations such as offshore oil and gas pipelines, could also offer a new way to recycle iron from old ships and marine structures, according to the researchers from Dalhousie University in Halifax NS, Canada, and Seville University in Spain. Evidence for this species of marine bacteria originated with investigation into strange formations, referred to as “rusticles”, found on the underwater wreckage of the Titanic, hence the name designation of Halomonas titanicae. In the context of marine bioremediation and recovery of recyclable metals, this discovery provides yet another avenue of investigation into these types of metabolic processes, and the potential organisms (naturally occurring and genetically engineered) utilizing them.
Source:
Steel-munching bacteria are devouring the Titanic, say scientists
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/dec/06/titanic-steel-bacteria-rusticles-pipelines

Improved Method to Remove Pollutants from Gas and Liquids
University of Illinois researchers led by Prof. Mark Rood have created a continuous process for the creation of tailorable carbon/iron-based catalysts. The technology uses ultrasonic spray pyrolysis, also developed at the University, to produce porous carbon spheres with iron nanoparticles dispersed throughout, differentiating it from previous processes which typically provided only one ingredient or the other. The group will now work on developing catalysts to remove three bioaccumulating pollutants from gas streams simultaneously; where now such pollutants are addressed individually.
Source:
New method for making tiny catalysts holds promise for air quality
http://www.news.illinois.edu/news/10/1215carbon_spheres_rood.html

Updates on Previously Identified Issues

UNEP Study on Inter-Linkages of Climate Change, POPs, and Human Health
The UNEP study Climate Change and POPs Inter-Linkages is the first systematic review of the link between climate change and the release of persistent organic pollutants (POPs), and the impact on human health and the environment. The study reveals that melting glaciers and ice sheets are releasing POPs trapped years ago, while severe and more frequent flooding triggered by climate change could lead to the secondary emissions of POPs through inundation of agricultural lands and POP storage sites. The study underlines the major impact on human health due to bio-magnification through the food chain. The full study will be presented to the 5th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention, to be held in Geneva, Switzerland, in April 2011. [Related items: New Chemicals Considered for Toxic Lists in January 2009 environmental security report.]
Sources:
Climate change increases vulnerability of planet to Persistent Organic Pollutants
http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=653&ArticleID=6862&l=en
Climate Change Increases Planet’s Vulnerability to Persistent Organic Pollutants
http://chm.pops.int/Convention/Media/Pressreleases/UNFCCCCOP16ClimateChangeCancun7Dec2010/tabid/1269/language/en-US/Default.aspx

International Atomic Fuel Banks to Reduce Nuclear Proliferation
Following the March 2010 agreement with the IAEA, the Russian government opened the world’s first reserve of low enriched uranium (LEU) at the International Uranium Enrichment Center in Angarsk, Siberia. The plant is holding 120 metric tons of LEU enriched between 2.00% and 4.95%, a safe level compared with the 90% enrichment required for weapons grade uranium. The LEU reserve is intended for IAEA member states, and is part of the global effort to control nuclear proliferation. Separately, on December 3, 2010, the IAEA Board of Governors decided to establish an IAEA LEU bank that will be owned and managed by the IAEA; the location has yet to be identified. [Related items: Advancements on Non-proliferation and Nuclear Disarmament in May 2009, and Advancements on Denuclearization in April 2010 environmental security reports.]
Sources:
IAEA approves global nuclear fuel bank
http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/ENF-IAEA_approves_global_nuclear_fuel_bank-0612105.html
The first in the world guaranteed reserve of nuclear fuel has been set up in the Russian Federation
http://www.rosatom.ru/wps/wcm/connect/rosatom/rosatomsite.eng/presscentre/news/6a376f8044e2e26db0bdfa6fd126209c
Russia Inaugurates World's First Low Enriched Uranium Reserve
http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/2010/leureserve.html

Shipping Efficiency Database to Reduce Emissions from Maritime Transportation
Shippingefficiency.org is a database developed by the Carbon War Room, aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from maritime shipping. The database contains energy efficiency ratings for over 60,000 international vessels based on the IMO’s Energy Efficiency Design Index. While global shipping is responsible for about 3% of total man-made CO2 emissions, 15% of the global fleet is responsible for 50% of all emissions. The new database will be helpful for monitoring and enforcing the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan and the expected revised regulations for mitigation of emissions from maritime transport. [Related item: IMO MEPC Revises MARPOL, Addresses Emissions from Ships in October 2010 environmental security report.]
Sources:
Shippingefficiency.org website
http://www.shippingefficiency.org/
Cleaning up shipping. New database to rate energy efficiency of ocean-going vessels
http://thechronicleherald.ca/Business/1218898.html

Indigenous People Demanding Regulations for Addressing Climate Change and Mining
The Forum of Indigenous Peoples Mining, Climate Change and Well Being, held in Lima, November 18-20, 2010, has issued the Lima Declaration demanding measures to address implications of climate change and mining on indigenous land. The Declaration calls on governments to enact measures limiting (or revoking) transnational companies’ rights to mine on indigenous land without consultation with the indigenous people, and the adoption of laws to determine zones prohibited for mining on indigenous territories. It calls upon the UN to declare indigenous peoples “the rightful owners since the ancient times of the soil, subsoil and natural resources” of their territories. They also declare being “committed to instrumentalize the International Court of Justice Climate” and the “construction of a national and regional agenda for climate justice.” [Related item: Indigenous Peoples Demand More Involvement in Environmental Policies in May 2008 environmental security report.]
Sources:
Indigenous Peoples in Latin America Unite Against Mining
http://www.galdu.org/web/index.php?odas=4967&giella1=eng
Lima Declaration - Forum of Indigenous Peoples Mining, Climate Change And Well Being
http://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/peru/lima-declaration-forum-indigenous-peoples-mining-climate-change-and-well-being

Regional Cooperation in Africa to Counter Wildlife Trafficking
Africa’s only wildlife law enforcement NGO, Last Great Ape Organization (Laga), has coordinated successful transinstitutional ‘sting’ operations against wildlife crime in Cameroon, Gabon, CAR and DR Congo. For the first time, Gabon has jailed ivory dealers. The Laga founder noted, “African governments have started realizing international trafficking has to be fought internationally. These arrests in four neighboring countries are a warning… – no longer can you hide on the other side of a border.” [Related item: International Consortium Created to Curb Environmental Crime in November 2010 environmental security report.]
Sources:
Central Africa: four-nation ‘sting’ operation busts wildlife smuggling ring
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/dec/12/africa-wildlife-ivory-smuggling

Bioethics Commission Calls for Enhanced Federal Oversight of Synthetic Biology
The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues has released its first report, New Directions. The Ethics of Synthetic Biology and Emerging Technologies – a comprehensive review of the emerging field of synthetic biology, including 18 recommendations, covering such topics as the risks likely to be encountered and approaches to regulation. With respect to seven of those 18, the Commission recommends “ongoing review by the government, in consultation with the relevant scientific, academic, international, and public communities, with initial action completed within 18 months and made public.”
Sources:
Presidential Commission on Bioethics calls for enhanced federal oversight of synthetic biology
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=19449.php
NEW DIRECTIONS. The Ethics of Synthetic Biology and Emerging Technologies
http://www.bioethics.gov/documents/synthetic-biology/PCSBI-Synthetic-Biology-Report-12-16-10.pdf

China to Expand Weather Control Program
Reportedly, the Director of the China Meteorological Administration has said that chronic water shortages in parts of the country will worsen over the coming decades, and therefore the need for using weather-control technologies will increase. China already began last year to allocate a special budget for weather control activities, and spending grew 19% in the first ten months of 2010, to $114 million. [Related item: Chinese Use of Weather Modification Technologies Might Cause Disputes in July 2004 environmental security report.]
Source:
China to step up efforts to control Mother Nature
http://www.physorg.com/news/2010-12-china-efforts-mother-nature.html

Climate Change
Scientific Evidence and Natural Disasters
Since 1970, each decade has been warmer than the preceding one, and 2000-2010 has been the warmest one on record, conclude preeminent meteorological organizations, despite some uncertainties and differences of measurement methodologies. Based on preliminary data from NASA and NOAA, 2010 might be the warmest year on record.
The Climate Vulnerability Monitor 2010 estimates that the number of countries with most acute vulnerability will increase from 17 in 2010 to 48 in 2030. Using color-coded graphics, the report shows the worldwide vulnerability to climate change, comparing today’s situation with forecasts to 2030 as to health impacts, weather disasters, habitat loss, and economic stress. For example, annual deaths due to changing climate conditions could rise from 350,000 now, to 1 million by 2030, unless adaptation policies are implemented in vulnerable countries. Floods will cause most of the deaths from extreme weather.
Climate Risk Index 2011 by Germanwatch shows that in the period 1990-2009, developing countries are among the ten most affected by extreme weather and noted the importance of comprehensive risk management which includes new regional and international insurance approaches in accordance with the 'polluter pays' principle.

Food and Water Security
The World Bank’s new initiative “Roadmap for Action: Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change” stresses the role agriculture can play in climate and finance, such as: enhanced resilience and carbon sequestration.
The World Bank notes considerable increase in acquisition of farmlands since 2008. Over the first 11 months of 2009, there were signed deals covering at least 110 million acres, compared to an average 10 million acres per year before 2008.
Food security, farming, and climate change to 2050 by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) has 15 scenarios that examine potential population and income growth. While warning that climate change could push staple food prices up 130%, it suggests that improved agricultural productivity, broad economic growth, and robust international trade could mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change on food security.
The Abu Dhabi Water Declaration adopted by the 31st Gulf Cooperation Council Summit stresses the connection between water security and diversification of energy and food security as important priorities. The GCC states are expected to create legislation to increase water efficiency, including the pricing system, review of the agricultural sector, and the efficiency of water desalination plants.
The Managing Blue Gold: New Perspectives to Water Security in the Levantine Middle East study by the Finnish Institute of International Affairs depicts future challenges of water security in this part of the Middle East and focuses on the ability of governments to secure a sustainable water supply for their populations.

Melting glaciers and sea ice
Recent research shows that the waters off the Western Antarctic Peninsula are warming exponentially, accelerating the melting ice shelf.

Migration
Following November’s Brasilia Declaration, Mexico has recently passed a unique Law on Refugees and Complementary Protection, becoming the first country in the region to grant “complementary protection” for those not considered refugees but at risk of other threats.
Within Africa’s Sahel, a region of approximately 60 million inhabitants, extreme drought and unpredictable weather patterns continue to worsen food and water security, and interregional migration. Additionally, insecurity triggered by spending money from natural resources (such as the oil money in Chad) on soldiers and military weaponry, exacerbates human migration.
The IOM reports that, worldwide, there are an estimated 740 million internal migrants and 214 million international migrants, with approximately 60% of all migration occurring within countries in the same category of development.

Adaptation
The UNEP Latin America and the Caribbean: Atlas of our Changing Environment is highlighting environmental challenges in the region due to climate change, loss of biodiversity, deforestation, the impacts of mining and natural disasters, changes in land use, and degradation of coastal areas.
According to the ECLAC report Economics of Climate Change in Latin America and the Caribbean, in the region’s temperate countries, losses from climate change may amount to around 1% of annual GDP by 2100 in the scenario of highest emissions (A2 of the IPCC).
Sources:
How Will We Know if 2010 Was the Warmest Year on Record?
http://www.climatecentral.org/news/tracking-the-temperature-of-a-warming-planet/
Climate Vulnerability Monitor 2010 report
http://daraint.org/climate-vulnerability-monitor/climate-vulnerability-monitor-2010/
Global Climate Risk Index 2011
http://www.germanwatch.org/klima/cri.htm
World leaders announce roadmap for action on agriculture, food security and climate change
http://www.agricultureday.org/blog/index.php/?p=423
African Farmers Displaced as Investors Move In
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/22/world/africa/22mali.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=a22
Food security, farming, and climate change to 2050
http://www.ifpri.org/publication/food-security-farming-and-climate-change-2050
UAE-GCC SUMMIT: Abu Dhabi Water Declaration calls for adoption of modern farming technologies
http://ipsnotizie.it/wam_en/news.php?idnews=7963
Managing Blue Gold: New Perspectives on Water Security in the Levantine Middle East
http://www.upi-fiia.fi/en/publication/154/managing_blue_gold/
Water as a Strategic Resource in the Middle East
http://csis.org/publication/clear-gold
Antarctic Melting as Deep Ocean Heat Rises
http://news.discovery.com/earth/antarctica-melting-warming-penguins-101214.html
UN High Commissioner Guterres welcomes breakthrough Mexico legislation on international protection
http://www.unhcr.org/4d025bb66.html
On the move in a warming world: The rise of climate refugees
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/africa-mideast/on-the-move-in-a-warming-world-the-rise-of-climate-refugees/article1843024/page1/
World Migration Report 2010
http://publications.iom.int/bookstore/free/WMR_2010_ENGLISH.pdf
Latin America and the Caribbean: Atlas of our Changing Environment
http://www.cathalac.org/lac_atlas/
Economics of Climate Change in Latin America and the Caribbean

Nanotechnology Safety Issues
EC Committee Presents Scientific Basis for the Definition of "nanomaterial"
According to nanowerk.com, the EC's Scientific Committee for Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) has published a 46-page paper – Scientific Basis for the Definition of the Term "nanomaterial, in which it basically concludes that size should be the basis for this definition. The Executive Summary from the paper briefly lays out the multitude of considerations and qualifications related to this complex question.
Sources:
EU scientific committee publishes opinion on definition of nanomaterials
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=19377.php
Scientific Basis for the Definition of the Term "nanomaterial"
http://ec.europa.eu/health/scientific_committees/emerging/docs/scenihr_o_032.pdf

The Geopolitics of Nanotech
ETC Group, a Canadian NGO, has released a 68-page report, The Big Downturn? Nanogeopolitics, which “revisits nano’s geopolitical landscape, providing a current snapshot of global investment, markets, governance and control, including intellectual property.” The report devotes 24 pages to questions of nanotech regulation and public communication, pointing out that “industry is increasingly nervous about its health and environmental exposure.”
Source:
The Big Downturn? Nanogeopolitics
http://www.etcgroup.org/en/node/5245

California Asks Manufacturers for Nano Analytical Test Measures
The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (CDTSC) has issued a call to manufacturers for information regarding analytical test methods for nanosilver, nano zero valent iron, nano titanium dioxide, nano zinc oxide, nano cerium oxide, and quantum dots, citing the almost total lack of such information.
Source:
CDTSC issues DCI for Nano Metals, Nano Metal Oxides, and Quantum Dots
http://nanotech.lawbc.com/2010/12/articles/united-states/state/cdtsc-issues-dci-for-nano-metals-nano-metal-oxides-and-quantum-dots/
Bibliography
http://www.dtsc.ca.gov/TechnologyDevelopment/Nanotechnology/upload/Round_Two_Biblio.pdf

Management of Nanomaterials Safety in Research Environment
According to Meridian Nanotechnology and Development News, "This article … presents a practical, 'user-friendly' procedure for university-level safety management of nanomaterials. … The procedure …involves classifying laboratories into risk classes, with a list of risk mitigation measures given for each hazard level." It is currently being implemented at the Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne, Switzerland, in more than 100 research labs.
Source:
Management of Nanomaterials Safety in Research Environment
http://sites.merid.org/nanodev/more.php?articleID=3034

Use of TiO2 Nanoparticles in City Pavement Raises Risk Questions
The TiO2 nanoparticles used for air purification in city pavement in Antwerp allegedly agglomerate to a larger molecule with a size of 1.5 µm, and so escape suspicion of possibly producing “nanoparticle pollution”, but questions have been raised about their long-term fate – whether weathering over the decades may result in their release in their original form or in a form that may be degrade after inhalation., creating an environmental problem. Dr. Anil Kumar Suresh of the Biological and Nanoscale Systems Group, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, warns,” There’s not much known about the fate, transport and transformation of these particles in the environment. The area is not so explored and we cannot tell what will happen if the concentration of nanoparticles increases in the atmosphere. We have to be very careful”, a reasonable warning considering the widespread use of TiO2-containing materials.
Source:
TiO2 nanoparticles-containing materials in our cities: Impacts are difficult to predict
http://www.physorg.com/news/2010-11-tio2-nanoparticles-containing-materials-cities-impacts.html

OECD Publishes Documents on Manufactured Nanomaterials Safety
OECD has published two new documents in its Series on the Safety of Manufactured Nanomaterials:
No. 27: List of Manufactured Nanomaterials and List of Endpoints for Phase One of the Sponsorship Programme for the Testing of Manufactured Nanomaterials: Revision
A list of representative manufactured nanomaterial selected by the OECD Working Party on Manufactured Nanomaterials (WPMN) for use in its work. http://www.oecd.org/officialdocuments/displaydocumentpdf?cote=env/jm/mono(2010)46&doclanguage=en

No. 28: Compilation and Comparison of Guidelines Related to Exposure to Nanomaterials in Laboratories
An overview of recently published guidelines regarding the usage of nanomaterials in a laboratory scale. http://www.oecd.org/officialdocuments/displaydocumentpdf?cote=env/jm/mono(2010)47&doclanguage=en

NIOSH Calls For Comments on Draft Nanotechnology Recommendations
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has invited public comment on a draft document, Current Intelligence Bulletin: Occupational Exposure to Carbon Nanotubes and Nanofibers, that "summarizes the adverse respiratory health effects that have been observed in laboratory animal studies with single-walled carbon nanotubes, multi-walled carbon nanotubes and CNF and provides recommendations for the safe handling of these materials." According to Nanowerk News, it also suggests areas where further research is vital. The draft document is available at www.cdc.gov/niosh/docket/review/docket161A/ for written public comment until February 18, 2011, and NIOSH will hold a public meeting to discuss and obtain comments on February 3, 2011, in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Source:
Occupational Exposure to Carbon Nanotubes and Nanofibers
http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docket/review/docket161A/
NIOSH seeks comments on draft nanotechnology recommendations
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=19308.php

Austrian Nanotrust Documents Now Available in English
The NanoTrust project of the Institute of Technology Assessment of the Austrian Academy of Sciences has released some of its dossiers in English: Nanoparticles and the Human Body, Nanosilver, What is Accompanying Research on Nanotechnology?, Can nanoparticles end up in the brain?, Nano-Textiles, Voluntary approaches by industry in the field of nanomaterials, EU Regulation. The dossiers are a brief summary of the most important information about possible health and environmental risks and on societal aspects of nanotechnologies. Additional items will be added gradually.
Sources:
NanoTrust documents now available in English
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=19338.php
Can nanoparticles end up in the brain?
http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=19339.php
NanoTrust-Dossiers
http://epub.oeaw.ac.at/ita/nanotrust-dossiers/

NanoSafe 2010 Proceedings Now Available
Proceedings of the International Conference on Safe production and use of nanomaterials, Nanosafe 2010, November 16-18, 2010 in Grenoble, France, are now available on-line. Topics at the event included:, Exposure assessment, Characterization, Detection and Monitoring, Nanomaterials life cycle, Toxicology, Environmental impact, Nanoparticle release from consumer products, Personal protection equipment, Secure industrial production, Safety parameters evaluation, Standardization, and Regulations.
Sources:
NanoSafe 2010 presentations now available online
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=19267.php
Poster presentations at Nanosafe 2010
http://www.nanosafe.org/scripts/home/publigen/content/templates/show.asp?P=119&L=EN&SYNC=Y

Reports and Information Suggested for Review

Global Energy Market Shifts to Asia Over Next Ten Years
More for Asia: Rebalancing World Oil and Gas, a paper published by Chatham House (The Royal Institute of International Affairs) offers forecasts through 2030 on the world’s oil and gas industries. Important highlights include anticipated increased politicization of access as industries governed by the state play a larger role in supply and distribution.
Source:
More for Asia: Rebalancing World Oil and Gas
http://www.chathamhouse.org.uk/publications/papers/view/-/id/981/

U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing on Latin America
The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing titled Latin America in 2010: Opportunities, Challenges, and the Future of U.S. Policy in the Hemisphere on December 1, 2010, which included emphasis on various aspects of the environment and energy. Collaboration within the Americas on preservation of the Amazon (as well as general environmental protection aligned with economic development), initiation of a new U.S.-Brazil energy partnership elevated to international stature, sustainable agriculture and development approaches targeted to small farmers, and focusing of attention on the civil and economic causes of migration were proposed by senators as issues important to U.S. foreign policy.
Sources:
Latin America in 2010: Opportunities, Challenges, and the Future of U.S. Policy in the Hemisphere
http://foreign.senate.gov/hearings/hearing/?id=28bfd63d-5056-a032-522a-f15cc4df8ef0
Senators Listen to Ideas for Improving Relations with Latin America
http://www.infozine.com/news/stories/op/storiesView/sid/45119/

Back to Top


November 2010

NATO’s New Strategic Concept Includes Environmental Security
“Key environmental and resource constraints, including health risks, climate change, water scarcity and increasing energy needs will further shape the future security environment in areas of concern to NATO and have the potential to significantly affect NATO planning and operations”, reads NATO’s new Strategic Concept for the next decade, adopted at the alliance’s Summit meeting in Lisbon, November 2010. The new roadmap was updated considering modern threats such as energy security, cyber attacks, and the security impacts of emerging technologies, along with and in the context of the spread of terrorism and extremist groups. It stipulates that, “A number of significant technology-related trends – including the development of laser weapons, electronic warfare and technologies that impede access to space – appear poised to have major global effects that will impact on NATO military planning and operations.” In the spirit of enhancing EU-NATO cooperation, an EU-US Working Group on Cyber-security and Cybercrime was established to address specific priority areas, and an agreement on the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program was negotiated.
Sources:
Active Engagement, Modern Defence. Strategic Concept for the Defence and Security of the Members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation adopted by Heads of State and Government in Lisbon http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/official_texts_68580.htm
EU-US Summit in Lisbon, Portugal: Joint Statement http://eurunion.org/eu/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3926&Itemid=58

International Consortium Created to Curb Environmental Crime
The International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) came into effect, by the signing of a Letter of Understanding by the heads of five organizations: INTERPOL, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the World Bank, and the World Customs Organization. In the same spirit, the resolution adopted by INTERPOL’s 79th General Assembly, attended by 650 delegates from 141 countries, underlines that environmental crime is “multi-disciplinary in nature due to the complexity and diversity of crime types.” Since it is “not restricted by borders and involves organized crime networks…”, a global response is needed, with INTERPOL and the National Central Bureaus playing a leading role. The resolution also stipulates that environmental crime impacts the global economy and security, and recommends that INTERPOL form the Environmental Crime Committee.
Sources:
World's police at INTERPOL General Assembly rally against environmental crime http://www.interpol.int/Public/ICPO/PressReleases/PR2010/News20101110.asp
Powerful alliance to fight wildlife crime comes into effect http://www.interpol.int/Public/ICPO/PressReleases/PR2010/PR098.asp
AG-2010-RAP-08, Appendix. Resolution: Subject: Sustainable Environmental Crime Programme http://www.cites.org/eng/news/press/2010/20101108_Interpol_resolution.pdf

Food Security Threatened by Diminishing Low-Cost Phosphorus
Professor Dana Cordell of the University of Technology in Sydney estimates that world phosphate demand is over 150 million tons per year, that demand will exceed production by 2033, and states, “There is nothing on the market that can replace phosphate on the scale that we need it.” Phosphate is critical for life support and essential for agriculture. U.S. reserves might be exhausted by 2050. Since the lower concentration phosphate deposits are laced with radioactive elements like uranium and thorium, or heavy metals like cadmium, environmental concerns might complicate their exploitation. Addressing phosphorus supply and its environmentally sustainable exploitation and use should be part of strategies addressing food and environmental security.
Sources:
Elemental Shortage http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/57777/
The Story of Phosphorus: Sustainability implications of global phosphorus scarcity for food security
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-53430

Renewed Protection for Refugees in Latin America
The “Brasilia Declaration on the protection of refugees and stateless persons in the Americas” was adopted by the delegates of 18 Latin American countries meeting in Brasilia, Brazil, November 11, 2010. In addition to renewed pledges stipulated in previous treaties, the Declaration calls for improved mechanisms for the protection of refugees, migrants, internally displaced, and stateless persons in Latin America by addressing new displacement situations. It reiterates the, “…unrestricted respect for the principle of non-refoulement (non-forced return), including non-rejection at the border and indirect non-refoulement, as well as for the nonpenalization of illegal entry, and non-discrimination, as the fundamental principles of international refugee law”. Since climate change-related factors are expected to increase the number of displaced people around the world, new approaches for potentially larger numbers of such displaced persons seem necessary. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees considers the Declaration, “…a valuable international precedent”, which could help, “…accelerate global efforts to improve the situation of displaced people and end the scourge of statelessness,” and encourages other world regions to follow the example.
Sources:
Latin America nations pledge more for the protection of the displaced and stateless http://www.unhcr.org/4cdd4dc09.html
UN lauds Latin America’s declaration on refugee protection http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/news/2010/11/mil-101112-unnews01.htm
Brasilia Declaration on the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons in the Americas http://www.unhcr.org/4cdd3fac6.html

Technological Advances with Environmental Security Implications

New Insights into Photosynthesis Could Change Energy Storage and Transmission
Researchers at MIT have observed the maximal efficiencies of chromophores (light-sharing molecules active in photosynthesis) via a laboratory-based construct of artificial self-assembling molecules. The researchers believe they now have a macro-understanding of the photosynthetic process. With this new understanding, scientists in the field believe synthetic chemical systems based on photosynthesis have the potential to store and transmit solar energy with far greater performance ratios than today’s photovoltaic technology. [Related item: Photoelectric Energy Efficiency Increase by Photosynthesis-type Semiconductor Structure in March 2009 environmental security report.]
Source:
Fine-tuning photosynthesis http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2010/fine-tuning-photosynthesis.html

New Detection and Cleanup Techniques
Novel Micro-enabling Technology Potentials to Improve Detection Efficiency
Sphere Fluidics, a University of Cambridge spin-out company, states that the use of, “…an integrated microfluidics and picodroplets system for rapid analysis, isolation and discovery of single (and small populations of) cells and molecules…”, offers efficiency, control and automation advantages to existing systems of analysis and detection. Applications to energy, health, and chemical investigation are anticipated and in progress. [Related item: New Substrate Preparations Make for Inexpensive “Labs on a Chip” in October 2008 environmental security report.]
Sources:
Miniature droplet technology receives Royal Society Enterprise Fund backing http://royalsociety.org/news/miniature-droplet-technology/
Sphere Fluidics http://www.spherefluidics.eu/

Portable Virus Detector Could Check Pandemics
A team at the A*STAR Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) in Singapore, led by Pavel Neuzil, reports developing a portable device for rapid detection of viruses in the environment. The unit implements a real-time polymerase chain reaction capability by using a silicon-based micromachined ‘lab-on-a-chip’, replacing the conventional light source with a light-emitting diode, and replacing the photomultiplier tube with a photodiode. The developers claim that the system can detect H5N1 viruses in as little as 35 minutes and is some 50 times cheaper than competing devices. This technology, when commercialized, could greatly improve the efficiency of detecting pathogenic organisms in the environment.
Sources:
Sensors: A portable device for virus detection http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=18701.php
Rapid detection of viral RNA by a pocket-size real-time PCR system (by subscription only) http://pubs.rsc.org/en/Content/ArticleLanding/2010/LC/c004921b

New Technologies for Improving Marine Monitoring
New Super-efficient Undersea Marine Research Robot
Engineers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in Moss Landing CA have announced a highly efficient autonomous underwater vehicle that is fast, capable of carrying instruments and also designed for long-term expeditions. The LRAUV (long-range AUV) runs on batteries and incorporates power-saving and internal control software allowing it to monitor its own energy use and make intelligent choices about how to pursue its mission. The robot is claimed to be flexible enough for inclusion in most scientific excursions and is designed to work as a member of a group. The next phase of MBARI experimentation will monitor marine ecology using two units.
Source:
New long-range undersea robot goes the distance http://www.mbari.org/news/news_releases/2010/lrauv/lrauv-release.html

Cost-Effective Real-Time Electronic Monitoring for Coastal Ecosystems
Researchers from North Carolina State University led by Prof. Alex Dean report developing a “cost-effective electronic monitoring system that will enable researchers to advance … understanding of critical coastal ecosystems by allowing users to track water-quality data …in real time.” The system uses inexpensive, wireless sensors that can be anchored to the seabed, moored to buoys, or towed behind vessels to collect data, which is then transmitted to a central server. This project is "open source" and should enable other institutions concerned with coastal environments to develop their own efforts more efficiently.
Source:
Researchers Developing Real-Time Electronic Monitoring For Coastal Waters http://news.ncsu.edu/releases/wmsdeanbaysensors/

Updates on Previously Identified Issues

New International Mechanisms Adopted for Protection of Biodiversity
The 10th Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) held in Nagoya, Japan, adopted several new mechanisms for increasing protection of biodiversity and assessed new and emerging issues. The 2011-2020 Strategic Plan for Biodiversity identifies 20 targets, such as: expanding the world’s protected areas to include 17% of terrestrial surface and 10% of the marine surface; the restoration of a minimum 15% of ecosystems already degraded; and halving, or bringing as close as possible to zero, the rate of loss of the world’s natural habitats. The “Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization” will enter into force after 50 ratifications. The attendees also agreed that signatories to the CBD must ensure that no geoengineering projects take place until risks to the environment, as well as social, cultural, and economic impacts, have been properly assessed. A sample of other outcomes includes the: Global Biodiversity Outlook; Multi-year Programme of work; Biofuels and Biodiversity; and Invasive Alien Species. [Related item: Biosafety Regulations Reviewed in Context of Worrying Forecasts in October 2010 environmental security report.]
Sources:
COP 10 Outcomes http://www.cbd.int/nagoya/outcomes/
Nagoya biopiracy agreement 'is unexpected success'
http://www.scidev.net/en/agriculture-and-environment/indigenous-knowledge/news/nagoya-biopiracy-agreement-is-unexpected-success-.html
No to Geo-Engineering: UN Issues a Moratorium on Efforts to Manipulate the Earth's Climate http://www.alternet.org/environment/148768/no_to_geo-engineering%3A_un_issues_a_moratorium_on_efforts_to_manipulate_the_earth's_climate
Research into the possibility of engineering a better climate is progressing at an impressive rate—and meeting strong opposition
http://www.economist.com/node/17414216

Revised Standards Proposed for Corporate Greenhouse Gas Reporting
The World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) released proposed new standards for how companies should report the GHG impact of their supply chains and products. These guidelines supplement the Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard, which is (in turn) part of the GHG Protocol Initiative, which is a larger framework for calculating and reporting a company’s environmental footprint. [Related item: Corporate CEOs Pledge Actions on Climate Change at UN Global Compact Summit in July 2007 environmental security report.]
Sources:
New measures emerge for measuring carbon emissions, both corporate and municipal http://www.smartplanet.com/business/blog/business-brains/new-measures-emerge-for-measuring-carbon-emissions-both-corporate-and-municipal/11209/
The GHG Protocol Initiative http://www.ghgprotocol.org/standards/product-and-supply-chain-standard

New EU Directive on Industrial Pollution
The European Commission adopted a stricter policy on industrial emissions. It is merging seven pieces of pre-existing environmental legislation including the IPPC Directive (2008/1/EC, integrated pollution prevention and control). New parameters include a more rigorous process for permits by strengthening the Best Available Techniques (BAT), tightening emission limits for Europe’s largest fossil-fuel-fired combustion plants and improving compliance tools for better verification and control. The new Directive comes into force 20 days after publication in the Official Journal, which is expected before the end of 2010. Then the member States have two years to start implementation. [Related item: EC Enforces Compliance with EU Environmental Regulations in June 2008 environmental security report.]
Sources:
EU adopts stricter rules on industrial emissions http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/10/1477&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en
The IPPC Directive http://ec.europa.eu/environment/air/pollutants/stationary/ippc/summary.htm

Comments Invited on EPA/DOT Proposed Heavy Truck Mileage/Emission Standards
EPA and the Dept. of Transportation announced a comprehensive, proposed national program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve fuel efficiency of heavy-duty trucks and buses. This is projected to reduce GHG emissions by nearly 250 million metric tons and save 500 million barrels of oil over the lives of the vehicles produced within the program’s first five years. [Related item: EPA Proposes Tougher Air-Quality Rules in January 2010 environmental security report.]
Sources:
New Truck Emission Standards and Controls http://www.enn.com/top_stories/article/41927
EPA and NHTSA Propose First-Ever Program to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Improve Fuel Efficiency of Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles: Regulatory Announcement http://www.epa.gov/otaq/climate/regulations/420f10901.htm

New Protected Areas Proposed in the Pacific
The Univ. of Queensland Ecology Centre's marine protection blueprint has determined that 50% of the oceans in the southwest of the country will need to be protected in a network of marine sanctuaries to minimize risks to marine life, fish stocks, and ecosystems. The Australian federal government intends to plan new marine sanctuaries in the southwest of Australia. Indonesia has declared a protected zone around three coral-rich islands near Bali. Palau's Minister of the Environment, Natural Resources and Tourism announced the establishment of a marine mammal sanctuary covering over 230,000 mi2 (600,000 km2) of the nation’s waters. [Related item: Factors to Consider in Establishing and Operating Marine Protected Areas in March 2010 environmental security report.]
Sources:
Blueprint to protect the future of Australia's oceans revealed http://www.physorg.com/news/2010-11-blueprint-future-australia-oceans-revealed.html
Island nation announces Ukraine-sized sanctuary for whales and dolphins http://news.mongabay.com/2010/1024-hance_mammal_sanctuary.html

Hazardous E-waste Grows as Major Environmental Problem
More than 12 countries participated in the International Hazardous Waste Inspections Exercise at Seaports. The exercise was coordinated by the International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement’s (INECE) and the Seaport Environmental Security Network (SESN). Initial results indicate that 54% of the 72 total targeted inspections showed infringements. “The illegal waste streams most often encountered during the event were: e-waste wrongly declared as second-hand goods, waste batteries wrongly described as plastic or mixed metal scrap, and cathode ray tubes from television and computer monitors wrongly classified as metal scrap,” said INECE. [Related item: Half of Transported European Hazardous Waste Could Be Illegal––How Much More Elsewhere? in April 2008 environmental security report.]
Sources:
Global Crackdown on Illegal Hazardous Waste Shipping Confirms Benefits of Cross-Border Cooperation
http://inecesecretariat.wordpress.com/2010/11/02/global-crackdown-on-illegal-hazardous-waste-shipping-confirms-benefits-of-cross-border-cooperation/
INECE Seaport Environmental Security Network www.inece.org/seaport

Climate Change
Scientific Evidence and Natural Disasters
Unusually heavy rains since mid-September have caused Benin’s worst floods in half a century. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that floods affected over 680,000 people in two-thirds of the country, and severely damaged schools, hospitals, and infrastructure, and that there were about 850 reported cases of cholera. Since rains were predicted to continue through November, the total devastation is likely to increase.
Natural Hazards, UnNatural Disasters: The Economics of Effective Prevention, a joint report by the World Bank and the UN, estimates that by the end of this century, annual global losses from natural disasters could triple to $185 billion, without calculating the impact of climate change, which could add $28-68 billion per year from tropical cyclone damages alone. By 2050, the number of people exposed to storms and earthquakes in large cities could double, to 1.5 billion. The report outlines a number of measures to prevent death and destruction from natural hazards, calling for increased spending for early warning systems, particularly weather forecasting.

Food and Water Security
FAO’s Food Outlook report notes that global grain production will drop by 2% (63 million metric tons) this year, putting the world “dangerously close” to a new food crisis. The bills for food import for the poorest countries are predicted to rise 11% in 2010 and by 20% for the low-income food-deficit countries.
The Global Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change took place October 31-November 5, 2010, at the World Forum in The Hague, around the theme ‘It’s Down 2 Earth.’ The Conference initiated a roadmap for action which links agriculture-related investments, food security, and climate change. The roadmap focuses on climate-smart agriculture and includes sections on: policies and strategies; tools and technologies; financing for transformational change; forging partnerships; and the way forward. The Conference was a follow-up to the Shared Vision Statement agreed to at the 17th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD 17) in May 2009; the next follow-up conference will be hosted by Vietnam in 2012.
The new Africa Water Atlas released by UNEP shows how the challenges of water scarcity in Africa are compounded by high population growth, socioeconomic and climate change impacts, and, in some cases, policy choices. UNEP warns that the findings indicate a decline in the availability of water per person in Africa, and that only 26 of the continent’s 53 countries are on track to reach the UN Millennium Development Goals on water. It also features new solutions and success stories across the continent.

Migration
The Tarawa Climate Change Conference held November 9-11, 2010 in Tarawa, Kiribati, as a session of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, concluded with the release of the Ambo Declaration. Participants called for a number of actions, including design of strategies for protecting people displaced within or across borders due to climate change, and establishing a mechanism for climate change disaster risk. The Declaration was adopted by: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Cuba, Fiji, Japan, Kiribati, Maldives, Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Solomon Islands, and Tonga.

Adaptation
A technical paper “Guiding principles for adaptation to climate change in Europe” by the European Topic Centre on Air and Climate Change of the European Environment Agency presents a set of guiding principles and implementation mechanisms for adaptation to climate change in Europe. The paper is based on opinions from more than 250 adaptation experts from 35 European countries, who took part in a survey conducted by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Effect.
More than 400 technical experts and policy makers met in Cairo, Egypt, November 2-3, at the Fifth Symposium on ICTs and the Environment & Climate Change (ICT = Information and Communication Technologies). Emphasizing the climate change monitoring and mitigation requirements of Africa and other developing regions that can be met through ICT solutions, the symposium issued the “Cairo Roadmap,” a six-step program for the use of ICTs to benefit environmental management.

Health
The WHO has published the report of the consultation on Essential Public Health Package to Enhance Climate Resilience in Least Developed Countries. The consultation was held in September 2010, in Geneva, Switzerland, with representatives from vulnerable countries, the UNFCCC Secretariat, and relevant WHO departments. There was broad agreement on enhancing resilience through linking environment and health surveillance, vector control, and disaster risk reduction.

Post-Copenhagen Negotiations
An update analysis on CO2 emissions shows the global CO2 emissions’ decrease in 2009 by 1.3% appears to be only a “blip” on the radar due to the economic slowdown, with the emissions expected to return to the 3% yearly increase as the effects of the recession decline.. The study also highlights that in 2009, while developed countries’ carbon emissions fell—e.g. Japan (11.8%), United Kingdom (8.6%) and Germany (7%), they increased considerably in developing countries, mainly in China (8%) and India (6.2%.)
As world attention turns towards the UN Climate Change Conference to be held in Cancun, Mexico, November 29-December 10, 2010, expectations of reaching agreement for a post-Kyoto greenhouse gas emissions treaty are low. Nevertheless, the high-profile meeting galvanized efforts and created the opportunity for holding many side-events that are all oriented toward improving energy efficiency, reducing GHG emissions, and promoting green technologies.
Sources:
Benin suffers worst floods since 1963 http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/oct/25/benin-worst-floods-since-1963
Natural Hazards, UnNatural Disasters: The Economics of Effective Prevention http://www.gfdrr.org/gfdrr/node/281
Food Outlook report http://www.fao.org/docrep/013/al969e/al969e00.pdf
Global Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change http://www.afcconference.com/
Africa Water Atlas http://na.unep.net/atlas/africaWater/book.php
Kiribati’s Tarawa Climate Change Conference (TCCC) http://www.climate.gov.ki/tarawa_climate_change_conference.html
Guiding principles for adaptation to climate change in Europe ETC/ACC Technical Paper 2010/6 http://air-climate.eionet.europa.eu/reports/ETCACC_TP_2010_6_guid_princ_cc_adapt
Essential Public Health Package, Consultation Report http://www.who.int/globalchange/mediacentre/events/2010/EssentialPublicHealthPackage_September_2010_Consultation_Meeting_Report.pdf
Update on CO2 emissions. Nature Geoscience, 21 November 2010, doi:10.1038/ngeo1022 http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ngeo1022.html
United Nations Climate Change Conference Cancun - COP 16 & CMP 6 http://unfccc.int/2860.php

Nanotechnology Safety Issues
Report Outlines Nanotech Research Directions for Societal Needs in 2020
The Wilson Center/Pew Trusts’ Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies has issued a new report, Nanotechnology Research Directions for Societal Needs in 2020, that, according to Meridian Nanotechnology and Development News, “…outlines the foundational knowledge and infrastructure development in the last decade, the current ~$15 billion in R&D programs underpinning about $250 billion of products incorporating nanoscale components in the world in 2009, and the likely evolution towards a general purpose technology by 2020.”
Sources:
Nanotechnology Research Directions for Societal Needs in 2020 http://www.nanotechproject.org/events/archive/researchdirections/
Nanotechnology Research Directions for Societal Needs in 2020 http://sites.merid.org/nanodev/more.php?articleID=2986

International Handbook on Regulating Nanotechnologies
A new 648-page International Handbook on Regulating Nanotechnologies seems to be a comprehensive examination of the regulatory challenges presented by nanotechnologies, with speculations on potential future evolution of the regulatory landscape, including, “potential legislative responses that could be employed by governments [and] a range of other options available to stakeholders,” says the press release.
Source:
International Handbook on Regulating Nanotechnologies
http://2020science.org/international-handbook-on-regulating-nanotechnologies/

Chemical Heritage Foundation Issues Two Reports on Nanotech Regulation
The Chemical Heritage Foundation’s Studies in Sustainability series has issued two white papers on nanotechnology regulation. The two titles are Emerging Nanotechnologies and Life-Cycle Regulation: An Investigation of Federal Regulatory Oversight from Nanomaterial Production to End of Life and Nanotechnology Regulation: Policies Proposed by Three Organizations for the Reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act.
Sources:
Emerging Nanotechnologies and Life-Cycle Regulation: An Investigation of Federal Regulatory Oversight from Nanomaterial Production to End of Life http://issuu.com/chemheritage/docs/emerging-nanotechnologies?viewMode=presentation&mode=embed
Nanotechnology Regulation: Policies Proposed by Three Organizations for the Reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act
http://issuu.com/chemheritage/docs/nanotechnology-regulation?viewMode=presentation&mode=embed

Regulation of Products Containing Nanoscale Materials
According to Meridian Nanotechnology and Development News, this article, prepared by lexology.com, addresses regulatory issues of nanotechnology and takes an in-depth look at how the EPA, FDA, and OSHA, “…have dealt with nanotechnology regulation since a November 2007 memorandum from the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the Council on Environmental Quality, stated that federal agencies ‘must implement sound policies to protect public health and the environment' from risks related to nanotechnology.’
Sources:
Regulation of Products Containing Nanoscale Materials http://sites.merid.org/nanodev/more.php?articleID=2979
Regulation of products containing nanoscale materials http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=4b460c16-b0cc-4c05-972d-c9b152cf3400

Voluntary Initiatives, Regulation, and Nanotechnology Oversight: Charting a Path
The Wilson Center/Pew Trusts' Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies has issued a 56-page report, Voluntary Initiatives, Regulation, and Nanotechnology Oversight: Charting a Path, that, according to the Project’s director, “…is the most extensive analysis done to date of how voluntary programs can be applied to managing nanotechnology's possible environmental and health effects [with] … analysis and recommendations [that] extend beyond nanotechnology to the newer generation challenges that we face as science rapidly advances.”
Sources:
Voluntary Initiatives, Regulation, and Nanotechnology Oversight: Charting a Path http://www.nanotechproject.org/events/archive/voluntary/
PEN 19 - Voluntary Initiatives, Regulation, and Nanotechnology Oversight http://www.nanotechproject.org/publications/archive/voluntary/

Organizations Address Key Issues For Nanomaterial Definition
According to Nanowerk News, "The International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) has released a document addressing key issues that need [to be] addressed when considering the definition of manufactured nanomaterials for regulatory purposes. It advocates five 'Core Elements of a Regulatory Definition of Manufactured Nanomaterial' ". The proposed elements are: solid, particulate substances, intentionally manufactured at the nano-scale, with at least one dimension between 1 and 100nm, and their aggregates and agglomerates, with a weight based cut-off of either 10 wt.-% or more of nano-objects or 50 wt- % or more of aggregates / agglomerates consisting of nano-objects.
The Center for International Environmental Law and the European Environmental Bureau submitted on behalf of a consortium of 46 organizations comments on the European Commission’s proposed definition of “nanomaterial”. The Reply begins by cautioning, “The present understanding of nanomaterials properties and potential health and environmental impacts is still very limited and therefore warrants much research and careful evaluation.”
Sources:
International Council of Chemical Associations addresses key issues for nanomaterial definition http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=19145.php
ICCA Core Elements of a Regulatory Definition of Manufactured Nanomaterials http://www.icca-chem.org/ICCADocs/Oct-2010_ICCA-Core-Elements-of-a-Regulatory-Definition-of-Manufactured-Nanomaterials.pdf
Reply form for the public consultation on Proposal for a Commission definition of the term "nanomaterial"
http://www.ciel.org/Publications/Nanomaterials_ReplyForm_Nov10.pdf

New Book Addresses Nanotechnology Education and Workforce Training
According to an item in Meridian Nanotechnology and Development News, the new book Nanoscience Education, Workforce Training, and K-12 Resources, by Miguel Aznar, of the Foresight Institute, is divided into four parts:
- Historical perspective and the emerging technology
- Teaching the skills for understanding and evaluating the emerging technologies
- The current status of, and links to, teaching materials, and evaluation of the US model vs. elsewhere
- Plans of action and links to sustainable development tools
Source:
New Book Addresses Nanotechnology Education and Workforce Training http://www.foresight.org/nanodot/

Studies Discussing the Possibility of Understanding Nanotoxicology
David B. Warheit from the DuPont Haskell Global Centers for Health and Environmental Sciences and colleagues has written an article addressing five issues that they perceive to be myths and misconceptions regarding nanotoxicology, generally related to the complex relationships, still the subject of much research, between the chemical and physical properties of nanomaterials and their biological effects. The emphasis of the paper is on the deficiencies in current knowledge and its application and the need for a very large amount of further detailed investigation before specific nanomaterials can be fully "trusted".
Similarly, a study paper produced by the German Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt) on the release and behavior of nanoparticles in the environment indicates, not too surprisingly, that the characteristics they exhibit depend on a multitude of factors, both of the material and the environment through which they pass – factors whose effects are as yet largely unknown in detail. The materials tested were nanosilver, titanium dioxide, carbon black, and cerium oxide. The study concludes, "…current knowledge is insufficient for making any generalised statements which are relevant for risk assessment."
Sources:
Nanotoxicology myth buster http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=18774.php
Debunking Some Misconceptions about Nanotoxicology. David B. Warheit, DOI: 10.1021/nl103432w http://pubs.acs.org/action/doSearch?action=search&author=warheit&qsSearchArea=author&type=within&publication=40026042& (Abstract)
"Study of nanoparticle emission of selected products during their life cycle" (English summary) http://www.umweltbundesamt.de/technik-verfahren-sicherheit-e/publikationen/texte_52_2010_kurzfassung_e.pdf

Structured Relationship Modeling Allows Prediction of Nanoparticle Properties
Scientists led by Prof. Alexander Tropsha of the Univ. of NC School of Pharmacy have developed a structured modeling technique by which the biological effects of manufactured nanoparticles (MNPs) can be predicted using their chemical, physical, and geometrical properties.
Sources:
Predicting the toxicological effects of nanomaterials with novel modeling approach http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=18875.php
Quantitative Nanostructure−Activity Relationship Modeling http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1021/nn1013484

Risk Analysis Devotes November 2010 Issue to Nanotechnology
The entire November 2010 issue of the journal Risk Analysis is devoted to risk analysis articles related to nanotechnology.
Sources:
An anticipatory governance approach to carbon nanotubes http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=19037.php
Risk Analysis. Volume 30, Issue 11, Pages 1627–1734 (full text by purchase or subscription)
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/risk.2010.30.issue-11/issuetoc

Reports and Information Suggested for Review

Literature Addressing Arctic Security
Protecting the Arctic Biodiversity: Limitations and Strengths of Environmental Agreements, a report by UNEP, assesses the status and adequacy of current multilateral environmental agreements that deal with protecting the Arctic from the effects of climate change. It underlines that changes in Arctic biodiversity also impact neighboring countries and regions, given the migratory nature of many of the Arctic species, and that global effort is needed to address climate change causes and effects. Challenges include the generally outdated nature of the MEAs—based on past understandings of the Arctic environment—as well as insufficient implementation, which makes it difficult to assess progress and adequacy. Recommendations include: an audit of the MEAs on the Arctic to assess their effectiveness, relevance, and options for improvement, as new actors become involved in the Arctic and its resources; and an increased role of the Arctic Council to ensure sustainable use of the Arctic.
The ArcticSea Competition and Key Strategic Challenges for Europe. an article published in Second Line of Defense summarizes the present state of affairs in the Arctic, highlighting its economic and strategic importance.
The Canadian Arctic: Threat from Terrorists and Extremists. a newly declassified intelligence assessment, prepared by the Integrated Threat Assessment Centre, claims that in recent years, vessels with links to human smuggling, drug trafficking, and organized crime have attempted to access the Canadian Arctic. It also notes that over the past 10 years, the population of the Canadian Arctic increased by 16%. Visitors to the area have also increased, including cruise ships, tourists, and peace activists, leading federal agencies to increase monitoring of incoming people, goods, and threats from the North.
The Security in Canada’s North: Looking Beyond Arctic Sovereignty report by the Conference Board of Canada suggests “community security” should be considered instead of only military sovereignty.
Sources:
Global action needed to conserve Arctic biodiversity http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=649&ArticleID=6800&l=en&t=long
Protecting Arctic Biodiversity: Limitations and strengths of environmental agreements http://www.grida.no/publications/arctic-biodiversity/
The Arctic Sea Competition and Key Strategic Challenges for Europe (Part One) http://www.sldinfo.com/?p=11635
Arctic terror threats real: security agencies http://www.cbc.ca/canada/north/story/2010/11/10/cp-arctic-security-threats.html
Climate change a top fear in North: report http://www.cbc.ca/canada/north/story/2010/11/16/arctic-security-conference-board.html

Economic Argument for Peace-building in Sudan
A recent publication by Frontier Economics suggests that the January 2011 Southern Sudanese referendum on independence could cost Sudan, regional neighbors, and international agencies more than $100 billion over 10 years (and over $800 billion in 25 years), if the vote results in civil war. The study looks at different conflict scenarios within varying baseline contexts; assessing economic outcomes of impacts on infrastructure, oil production, peacekeeping, and humanitarian aid.
Sources:
Return to conflict in Sudan could cost in excess of US$100 billion http://www.frontier-economics.com/europe/en/news/1028/
The cost of future conflict in Sudan http://www.frontier-economics.com/_library/pdfs/frontier%20report%20-%20the%20cost%20of%20future%20conflict%20in%20sudan.pdf

Back to top


October 2010

UN Human Rights Council Affirms Right to Water as Legally-Binding
Water tables are falling on all continents; more than 40% of humanity gets its water from watersheds controlled by two or more countries. About 900 million people lack clean water and 2.6 billion lack adequate sanitation. The UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution affirming that rights to safe drinking water and sanitation are basic human rights contained in existing human rights treaties, and therefore legally binding. The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) give rise to obligations for States parties in relation to access to safe drinking water and sanitation. This action addresses previous objections by those nations who abstained from supporting this right in the UN General Assembly in July this year. The UN Human Rights Council calls upon all States to create the legal and procedural frameworks for assuring the implementation, monitoring and enforcement mechanisms “to achieve progressively the full realization of human rights obligations related to access to safe drinking water and sanitation, including in currently unserved and underserved areas.” [Related item: UN Resolution Acknowledges Access to Clean Water and Sanitation a Human Right in August 2010 environmental security report.]
Sources:
UN united to make the right to water and sanitation legally binding
http://www.ohchr.org/en/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=10403&LangID=E
15/… Human rights and access to safe drinking water and sanitation. Human Rights Council Resolution A/HRC/15/L.14 (Sept. 24, 2010)
http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/LTD/G10/163/09/PDF/G1016309.pdf?OpenElement
UN landmark decision: right to water and sanitation is legally binding
http://internationallawobserver.eu/2010/10/14/un-landmark-decision-right-to-water-and-sanitation-is-legally-binding

International Biosecurity Initiative
U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade introduced the International Biosecurity Act of 2010 (HR 6297) to pursue efforts to establish international cooperation to counter both natural and man-made biological risks and assess the establishment of a global legal regime for biosecurity. The bill might be included in the proposed WMD Prevention and Preparedness Act of 2010 (HR 5498), which is awaiting a House floor vote. [Related items: BWC Meeting Improves International Resilience Systems to Address Infectious Disease and BioWeapons in August 2009, New Technologies Need New Regulations Systems in March 2009, and other items in previous environmental security reports.]
Sources:
Bill: To improve the international strategy of the United States for monitoring, reducing, and responding to biological risks, and for other purposes.
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-6297
Bill Would Establish Global Biosecurity Body
http://gsn.nti.org/gsn/nw_20101005_4535.php
H.R. 5498: WMD Prevention and Preparedness Act of 2010
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-5498

Synthetic Biology Guidelines to Reduce Bioweapon Threats
Synthetic biological voluntary guidelines released October 13, 2010 by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services call for sellers of synthetic double-stranded DNA products to know their buyers and their intended use. These guidelines will be reviewed and updated on a regular basis. Since synthetic biology could one day be misused to create bioweapons and potentially even weapons of mass destruction, international agreements to regulate this new technology seem both likely and warranted. The scale and scope of the expected future biological revolutions may one day require an international regulatory agency similar to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Source:
Screening Framework Guidance for Providers of Synthetic Double-Stranded DNA
http://www.phe.gov/Preparedness/legal/guidance/syndna/Documents/syndna-guidance.pdf

Arctic and South China Sea Resource Issues Causing U.S. to Review Law of the Sea
A Joint Statement of the 2nd US-ASEAN Leaders Meeting reaffirmed regional peace in accordance with principles of international law including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which is a main legal tool for protection against China’s claims in the South China Sea. “Disagreements over territorial claims and the appropriate use of the maritime domain appear to be a growing challenge to regional stability and prosperity,” stated Secretary of Defense Robert Gates at a multilateral event in Hanoi, Vietnam, with reference specifically to the South China Sea. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also underlined that the U.S. will “prioritize the Law of the Seas next year. It is critical to how we’re going to manage the Arctic. It is critical to our credibility in working with nations in Southeast Asia over questions regarding activities in the South China Sea.” The Convention has 161 parties (including the European Union), and out of the 35 nonparties, 17 are land-locked states. [Related item: Resources Trigger Overlapping Claims for Maritime Areas in May 2009 environmental security reports.]
Sources:
Joint Statement of the 2ND U.S.- ASEAN Leaders Meeting
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2010/09/24/joint-statement-2nd-us-asean-leaders-meeting
Remarks by Secretary Gates at ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting Plus
http://www.defense.gov/transcripts/transcript.aspx?transcriptid=4700
Secretary Clinton: Remarks on Innovation and American Leadership to the Commonwealth Club
http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2010/10/149542.htm

Islamic Conference of Environmental Ministers Approves Detailed Program
Participants to the 4th Islamic Conference of Environment Ministers (ISESCO) adopted a comprehensive Islamic Environmental Programme and endorsed the broader implementation of the program by all Islamic countries. Programs were also adopted for development and implementation of renewable energy, environmental protection, water resources, and sustainable development, as well as for reinforcing member states’ capacities to develop national strategies and emergency plans to cope with natural disasters.
Sources:
4th Islamic Conference of Environment Ministers Starts in Tunis
http://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/latest-news/128323-4th-islamic-conference-of-environment-ministers-starts-in-tunis-.html
4th Islamic Conference of Environment Ministers and Conference documents
http://www.sesric.org/event-detail.php?id=432

Hungary Industrial Plant Spill Might Trigger Tougher Environmental Regulations
Approximately 700,000 cubic meters (184 million gallons) of heavy-metal-contaminated sludge has impacted at least 40 km2 (15.4 mi2) of territory, including what appears to be pollution of the Danube, due to a sludge spill from a bauxite refinery in Ajka, Hungary, a town 160 kilometers (100 miles) from Budapest. Experts warn that the chemically polluted sludge could flow from Hungary to countries downstream, polluting the water and agricultural land. The Danube basin is historically linked to the mining and industrial farming industries. Chemicals such as copper, manganese, and cadmium already contaminate its tributaries, while pollutants have accumulated in soils, sediments, and groundwaters of the region. Research conducted after the Ajka spill suggests there may be hundreds, possibly thousands, of unreported chemical facilities without jurisdictional clarity “orphaned” by the fall of communism and with failing containment infrastructures in the basin, posing a chemical “time bomb” threat. International liability and redress issues are likely.
Sources:
The Danube’s menacing industrial legacy
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/europe/the-danubes-menacing-industrial-legacy/article1759897/
Danube Largely Safe Despite Toxicity of Hungarian Spill
http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,722100,00.html
UN sends experts to Hungary to help assess health impact of sludge spill
http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=36414&Cr=health&Cr1

Technological Advances with Environmental Security Implications

New Detection and Cleanup Techniques
U.S.-China Ozone Microbubbles Provide Widely Applicable Cleanup Technique
Prof. Andy Hong of the University of Utah has developed a technology, “heightened ozonation treatment (HOT)” that is claimed to have the potential to aid a wide range of environmental cleanup efforts, such as removing oil and gas byproducts from water, and organics and heavy metals from industrial sites, and removing harmful algae from lakes. The University, in cooperation with the Chinese company Honde LLC and the Chinese government, is testing the technique to remediate a lakeshore industrial site.
Source:
Utah Microbubbles Clean Dirty Soil in China
http://www.unews.utah.edu/p/?r=101110-1

Laser Detector Offers Fast Gas Analysis
Scientists at the JILA laboratory operated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Colorado at Boulder report having extended into the mid-infrared (IR) range the coverage of a laser-based spectroscopic system capable of fast molecular analysis of complex gas mixtures, with parts-per billion (ppb) precision, using an “optical frequency comb.” The researchers plan to extend this coverage to an important longer wavelength portion of the IR spectrum.
Source:
JILA unveils improved 'molecular fingerprinting' for trace gas detection
http://www.physorg.com/news/2010-10-jila-unveils-molecular-fingerprinting-gas.html

New Colorimetric Sensor Uniquely Detects Vapor from TATP Explosive
Prof. Kenneth Suslick and Hengwei Lin of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign claim development of a fast, inexpensive colorimetric sensor array device that can quantitatively detect levels of vapor from the explosive triacetone triperoxide (TATP) down to 2 ppb. TATP is a high-powered explosive that has been used in several bombing attempts. The sensor uses an inert plastic film with 16 tiny colored dots – each a different pigment – where a solid acid catalyst breaks down TATP into detectable components that cause the pigments to change color in an indicative pattern. It is being commercialized by iSense, a sensor manufacturer based in Palo Alto CA.
Sources:
Sniffing out shoe bombs: A new and simple sensor for explosive chemicals
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=18571.php
A Colorimetric Sensor Array for Detection of Triacetone Triperoxide Vapor
http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ja107419t

Increasing Energy Efficiency Technologies
Carbon Nanotube Cathodes, Silicon Anodes Improve Battery Performance
Contour Energy Systems, Inc. of Azusa CA has announced its licensing from MIT of a carbon nanotube technology that it says can dramatically improve the power capability of lithium-ion batteries. Prof. Shao-Hom of MIT stated, “These carbon nanotubes contain numerous functional groups on their surfaces that can store a large number of lithium ions per unit mass … [Thus] for the first time, carbon nanotubes can serve as the cathode in lithium-ion batteries, instead of the traditional role that carbon materials have played as the anode in such systems,” producing faster reactions and delivering high power, approaching 10 times current total power delivery capability. Corvus Energy of Vancouver reports achieving 22% better power storage by using lithium nickel manganese cobalt instead of lithium iron phosphate.
According to Nanowerk News, Prof. Sibani Lisa Biswal, of Rice University and colleagues there and at Lockheed Martin have developed a new anode material for lithium-ion batteries consisting of silicon densely filled with pores 1 micron wide and 10-50 microns long in which lithium can be absorbed and released – as much as 10 times as much as with equivalent carbon material. This structure overcomes the previous deficiency of a silicon base: cracking after a limited number of recharge cycles.
Sources:
Contour Energy Systems Signs Exclusive Technology Licensing Agreement with MIT
http://www.contourenergy.com/newsmodule/view/id/13/src/@random4c7d17e3c79cc/
Monster power. Lithium-ion batteries start to take on the big stuff
http://www.economist.com/node/17352944?fsrc=nwl
Silicon strategy shows promise for batteries
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=18492.php

NSF Makes 14 Grants in Renewable Energy and Sustainability
The National Science Foundation Office of Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation announced 14 grants for fiscal year 2010, awarded to 62 investigators at 24 institutions, working over the next four years on storing energy from renewable sources; and engineering sustainable buildings. According to the announcement, the groups “will pursue creative new approaches to making large-scale energy storage efficient and economical. They aim to construct capacitors and regenerative fuel cells with unprecedented capabilities to harness the sun’s thermal energy, to produce chemical fuel on demand, and to trap off-shore wind as compressed air” and “will investigate the critical flows and fluxes of buildings--power, heat, light, water, air and occupants --to create new paradigms for the design, construction, and operation of our homes and workplaces.”
Source:
Exploring Sustainability for Energy and Buildings
http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=117731&WT.mc_id=USNSF_51&WT.mc_ev=click

Updates on Previously Identified Issues

Kenya to Implement E-Waste Management Program
The 40 million metric tons of e-waste generated annually around the world is expected to increase, adding toxins throughout the environment. Kenya is set to become the first East African nation to develop regulations on the management of electronic waste, following a national conference held at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi. Delegates from Kenya's Environment Ministry and National Environment Management Authority, Microsoft, UNEP, and the telecommunications industry attended to chart a common way forward in dealing with e-waste management in line with the Basel Convention and other international frameworks.
Source:
UNEP backs action on e-waste in East Africa
http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.Print.asp?DocumentID=647&ArticleID=6744&l=en&WT.rss_f=pr&WT.rss_a=647-6744

Biosafety Regulations Reviewed in Context of Worrying Forecasts
The Meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (COP/MOP 5) held October 11-15, 2010, in Nagoya, Japan, was preceded by the fourth meeting of the Group of Friends of the Co-Chairs on Liability and Redress in the context of the Biosafety Protocol, and followed by the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP10). The meetings considered a series of strategic, content, and administrative issues, including new strategic plans and cooperation with other conventions, organizations and initiatives for improving capacity building, compliance and monitoring. The Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (the Supplementary Protocol) is expected to further strengthen and increase its efficiency.
Meanwhile, the Living Planet Report 2010 produced by the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) in collaboration with Global Footprint Network and the Zoological Society of London, and released prior to the Nagoya meetings, details alarming biodiversity declines along with the warning that humanity’s ecological footprint reached 1.5 times Earth’s capacity to produce renewable resources and is producing CO2 at a rate 50% faster than the Earth can sustain. The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) report, launched at the CBD COP10, documents the multi-trillion dollar importance to the global economy of the natural world, and suggests policy-shifts and market mechanisms that could help curb biodiversity loss. According to the report, halving current deforestation rates alone by 2030 is worth $3.7 trillion in global climate change adaptation savings. [Related item: Strategic Plan for Biodiversity to Connect UN Conventions and UN Bodies in September 2010 environmental security report.]
Sources:
Fifth meeting of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. 11-15 October, 2010
http://www.iisd.ca/vol09/enb09528e.html
Nagoya 2010: Report puts economic value of nature on the global political radar
http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=649&ArticleID=6791&l=en
Living Planet Report 2010
http://www.footprintnetwork.org/press/LPR2010.pdf

Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) Updated
The sixth meeting of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC-6) of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) took place October 11-15, 2010 in Geneva, Switzerland. It formed a working group to prepare a draft risk management evaluation for hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), risk management evaluation for endosulfan and recommended its listing in Annex A, with exemptions, risks of combined exposures, and other related conditions. The Committee considered a revised draft risk profile and further evaluation of short-chained chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs), and it provided for increased harmonization of relations with the Basel Convention. [Related item:Stockholm Convention Updated with Nine New Chemicals in May 2009 and other items on this issue in previous environmental security reports.]
Source:
Sixth Meeting of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC6) to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)
http://www.iisd.ca/vol15/enb15176e.html

International Civil Aviation Pact Cuts Climate Emissions from Aircraft
The Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) adopted a global agreement and roadmap for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from aircraft though 2050. Some key elements: improving aviation fuel efficiency 2% per year up to 2050; a framework for development and deployment of alternative fuels; and CO2 emission standards for aircraft by 2013. The ICAO Environmental Report 2010 launched at the Assembly brings together scientific, technological, economic, political and regulatory aspects of aviation environmental protection. [Related item: Provisional Agreement for Including Aviation in the Emission Trading Scheme from 2012 in June 2008 environmental security report.]
Sources:
ICAO Member States Agree to Historic Agreement on Aviation and Climate Change
http://www2.icao.int/en/Assembly37newsroom-public/Documents/ICAO%20Member%20States%20Agree%20To%20Historic%20Agreement%20On%20Aviation%20And%20Climate%20Change.pdf Civil Aviation Pact Cuts Climate Emissions from Aircraft
http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/oct2010/2010-10-13-02.html
ICAO Environmental Report 2010
www.icao.int/icao/en/env2010/pubs/environmentreport_2010.pdf

IMO MEPC Revises MARPOL, Addresses Emissions from Ships
The 61st session of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), which took place 27 September-1 October 2010, in London, addressed technical, operational, and market-based measures. For the mitigation of emissions from maritime transport, it requested proposed amendments to Annex VI, the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) and the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP), with an intersessional meeting of the Working Group to be held in March 2011. It adopted the revised MARPOL Annex III for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships expected to enter into force on 1 January 2014. It was also approved, in view of adoption at its next session, an updated Annex V of the Convention on Regulations for the prevention of pollution by garbage from ships. [Related item: Concerns over Maritime Air Pollution Increase in February 2008 environmental security report.]
Sources:
IMO Environment meeting discusses GHG measures for new ships
http://www5.imo.org/SharePoint/mainframe.asp?topic_id=1859&doc_id=13710
Revised MARPOL Annex III adopted at IMO environment meeting
http://www5.imo.org/SharePoint/mainframe.asp?topic_id=1859&doc_id=13711

Chile Establishes 150,000 KM2 Protected Marine Reserve in Pacific
Chile has established the 150,000 km2 no-take Sala y Gómez Marine Park surrounding Sala y Gómez Island in the east Pacific, to protect what a National Geographic Ocean Fellow calls “one of the last undisturbed and relatively pristine places left in the ocean … [with] deep seamounts with unique marine life.”
Source:
Chile Creates Large Marine Reserve at Sala y Gómez Island
http://blogs.nationalgeographic.com/blogs/news/chiefeditor/2010/10/chile-creates-large-marine-res.html

NASA’s SERVIR Environmental Imaging-Decision Support System Extended from Mesoamerica and Africa to Asia
According to an announcement, NASA and the Agency for International Development have unveiled SERVIR-Himalaya, a Web-based environmental imaging and management system based in Kathmandu, Nepal. NASA’s SERVIR system, already in use in Mesoamerica and Africa, combines satellite imagery, data management tools, and interactive visualization capabilities to help scientists and decision-makers address climate change, biodiversity, and environmental threats, such as flooding, forest fires, and storms. [Related item: Increased Use of Space Technology for Monitoring Environmental Events in September 2008 environmental security report.]
Source:
SERVIR: Program brings satellite imagery, decision support tools to Himalayan region
http://www.physorg.com/news205578190.html

New Earth-Approaching Asteroid Discovered
The Hawaii-stationed Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) detected its first potentially hazardous object (PHO) September 16th and predicted the 150-ft diameter asteroid would pass within four million miles of Earth by mid-October 2010. This is 16 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon. In March 2009 a different asteroid came 80% closer to the Earth than the Moon. No one knew it was coming. Although the more recent asteroid was not a threat, it will be catalogued and monitored with other known objects that may pose a danger within the next fifty years. Although scientists believe many of the largest PHOs have been discovered, there is concern that many with diameters less than one mile (5,280 ft.) are still unknown. Pan-STARRS is considered the world’s most sophisticated system for PHO detection. [Related item: Steps for an International Regime for Space Debris and Space Traffic Control System in May 2009 environmental security report.]
Sources:
Pan-STARRS discovers its first potentially hazardous asteroid
http://www.physorg.com/news204826766.html
Pan-STARRS
http://pan-starrs.ifa.hawaii.edu/public/

Artificial Grass May Pose Threat of Lead Poisoning to Children
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry in Atlanta GA has reported that some artificial grass can begin to release lead dust after a few years of wear and tear. It found lead levels above US legal safety limits for 12 out of 29 synthetic surfaces tested, as well as in two out of four new artificial turf products. The turf manufacturers' association claims that other US studies have concluded children are not at risk. [Relevant item: Call for Global Ban on Lead-based Paints in October 2007 environmental security report.]
Sources:
Warning of threat to children posed by artificial grass
http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/health/warning-of-threat-to-children-posed-by-artificial-grass-1.1062033
Evaluating and Regulating Lead in Synthetic Turf
http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/fetchArticle.action;jsessionid=603B9732578818DD76D9060DCB31669A?articleURI=info%3Adoi%2F10.1289%2Fehp.1002239

Climate Change
Scientific Evidence and Natural Disasters
2010 will be the warmest for Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, in 138 years. Four glaciers lost more than 10 square miles (25.90 sq km) each. Since glacier ice losses seem to be accelerating, sea level rise projections might also need to be revised.

Food and Water Security
The WFP and the FAO released the 2010 edition of The State of Food Insecurity in the World: Addressing food insecurity in protracted crises. According to the report, the number of undernourished people has declined but remains unacceptably high (925 million), with 22 countries being in protracted food crises.
According to the World Bank, up to 30 million hectares (74 million acres) of farmland are lost each year due to severe degradation, conversion to industrial use, and urbanization. Additionally, more than a third of large-scale land acquisitions—which in 2009 reached some 45 million hectares—are intended to produce agrofuels rather than food, increasing poverty. The problem is more severe in Africa, where 90% of land is not documented with land rights and ownership.
According to the Asian Development Bank, Asia could face a 40% gap between water supply and demand in 2030. In order to meet its goals of providing drinking water and sanitation, it would need around $8 billion a year, most of it having to come from the private sector.

Adaptation
Over 700 participants met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for the Seventh African Development Forum under the theme of “Acting on Climate Change for Sustainable Development in Africa” from 12-15 October 2010. As one of the outcomes of the Forum, a partnership on Africa’s options for a Green Economy, backed by the African Union, African Development Forum (AfDB), UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and UNEP, was established. One of the first activities of the partnership will be to organize an Africa-wide conference on a low-carbon, resource-efficient Green Economy, scheduled to take place in 2011.

Computer Modeling and Scenarios
A new global study by climate scientist Aiguo Dai concludes that much of the world’s land area is susceptible to extreme drought over the next 90 years. Using current GHG emission projections and the 22 computer models from the IPCC’s 2007 report to gather information on temperature, precipitation, humidity, wind speed, and the planet’s radiative balance, Dai calculated the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) through the end of the century. The report determines that drought risk will decrease across the upper reaches of the Northern Hemisphere and in some Southern Hemispheric locations, while increasing significantly in Africa, Australia, the United States, Southwest and Southeast Asia, Latin America, and the Mediterranean Sea region. There is concern that over the next 30 years regions are likely to experience drought of severity and duration that has not been experienced in at least the past several hundred years.

Post-Copenhagen Negotiations
Over 2,300 delegates from governments, intergovernmental organizations, and the media attended the Tianjin, China climate change negotiations, held October 4-9, 2010. This was the last meeting before the climate summit to be held in Cancun, from November 29 to December 10, 2010. There was no significant progress, mainly due to the reluctance of the developing countries to meet the demands of the developed countries on measurement, reporting, and verification mechanisms. A revised Chair’s proposal (FCCC/KP/AWG/2010/CRP.3) will be considered further in Cancun. As an alternative to the failure of reaching agreement for a second commitment period of Kyoto, the EU is considering creating a ‘coalition of the willing’ for continuing the fight to reduce GHG emissions. In the meantime, WWF warns that unless there are strong policies to fight GHG emissions, their worldwide level could overshoot by a third the threshold beyond which dangerous global warming looms.
Sources:
Warmer Arctic Probably Permanent, Scientists Say
http://planetark.org/wen/59961
State of Food Insecurity in the World
http://www.fao.org/publications/sofi/en/
UNISDR urges mayors and citizens to decrease disaster losses
http://www.unisdr.org/preventionweb/files/15810_2010no24.pdf
UN Secretary-General's Message on International Day for Disaster Reduction
http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2010/sgsm13175.doc.htm
Parliamentarians urged to take action on disaster reduction
http://www.unisdr.org/news/v.php?id=15724
Forum Website
http://www.uneca.org/adfvii/
NOAA’s Palmer Drought Severity Index
http://www.drought.noaa.gov/palmer.html
The current state of affairs in the climate change negotiations leading up to COP16
http://www.jiqweb.org/images/stories/JIQmagazine/2010Oct.pdf

Nanotechnology Safety Issues

Sunscreens with ZnO, TiO2 Nanoparticles May Pose Health Risk
Petra Kocbek of the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and colleagues have published a paper indicating that long-term exposure to zinc oxide and titanium dioxide nanoparticles, such as are found in sunscreen, has adverse effects on human skin cells in vitro, and that such materials are therefore a potential health risk.
Sources:
Toxicological Aspects of Long-Term Treatment of Keratinocytes with ZnO and TiO2 Nanoparticles
http://www.merid.org/nanodev/more.php?articleID=2889
Toxicological Aspects of Long-Term Treatment of Keratinocytes with ZnO and TiO2 Nanoparticles
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/smll.201000032/abstract (abstract)

ASTM Forms New Subcommittee on Nano-Enabled Consumer Products
The ASTM International (formerly the American Society for Testing and Materials) Committee E56 on Nanotechnology has announced formation of a subcommittee to develop standards for nanotech-using consumer products. It will develop standard terms, toxicity test methods, workplace handling guidance and other voluntary standards for organizations that work with nano-materials, concentrating initially on nano-silver. The group is soliciting responses from experts to work with the new subcommittee, including in the area of environmental chemistry.
Source:
ASTM Nanotechnology Committee Creates Subcommittee on Nano-Enabled Consumer Products
http://www.astmnewsroom.org/default.aspx?pageid=2270

Thailand to Introduce New "NanoQ" Certification Mark
According to Meridian Nanotechnology and Development News, the Nanotechnology Association of Thailand will launch a certification mark, NanoQ, in 2011, to encourage domestic development of nanoproducts and to promote consumers' acceptance of such products. Companies wishing to obtain the NanoQ mark will be required to have their products tested by the National Nanotechnology Center, and undergo a yearly auditing process.
Source:
Thailand's first NanoQ
http://www.asia-anf.org/NewsDetails.php?NewsId=218

Nanotechnology Long-term Impacts and Research Directions: 2000-2020
The National Science Foundation sponsored a study, conducted by the World Technology Evaluation Center, with 200 experts from 35 countries, on the long-term view for nanotechnology. Workshop presentations and the draft report, in particular its 46-page Chapter 4, Nanotechnology Environmental, Health, and Safety Issues, are now available.
Sources:
Nanotechnology Long-term Impacts and Research Directions: 2000-2020
http://www.wtec.org/nano2/

India Soon to Have a National Regulatory Framework for Nanotechnology
According to the Times of India, the country will soon have a national regulatory framework for nanotechnology, according to the Union minister for science and technology and earth sciences. The minister said that there are close to 1,000 researchers working in the nanotechnology field, and, “The framework will be drafted to sort out issues of ethics and copyrights [sic; presumably patents]”
Source:
Soon, a national regulatory framework for nanotechnology
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/Soon-a-national-regulatory-framework-for-nanotechnology/articleshow/6750692.cms

Effort and Care Vital in Communicating Nanotech to the "Public"
Several recent articles have emphasized the care that must be taken in communicating to the "public" the benefits and risks of nanotech-based products. The first, in Nature Nanotechnology, by Fern Wickson of the GenØk - Centre for Biosafety in Tromsø, Norway, and colleagues, emphasizes that communications must be tailored to the specific character and background of the recipients – who should not just be lumped into categories of laypersons, consumers, or stakeholders. The second is a report from the UK consultancy College Hill, discussed by Meridian Nanotechnology and Development News, that warns that "more than 90 percent of the UK population is confused or concerned about purchasing food containing manufactured nanoparticles, with 38 percent saying they would be unlikely to buy such foods", and urges the food and beverage industry, "…to consider how they can best educate, prepare and inform the public."
Sources:
Who or What Is 'the Public'?
News story: http://www.merid.org/nanodev/more.php?articleID=2893
Confusion could torpedo food & drink nanotech opportunity
http://www.foodanddrinkeurope.com/Products-Marketing/Confusion-could-torpedo-food-drink-nanotech-opportunity

New Report Analyzes European Nanotech Issues
According to Meridian Nanotechnology and Development News, the NanoCode Project, a UK-based group comprising the Royal Society, Insight Investment, the Nanotechnology Industries Assoc., and the Nanotechnology Knowledge Transfer Network, has published a Synthesis Report, "with the goal of exploring the societal and economic impact of the technical, social and commercial uncertainties related to nanotechnologies … [and providing] a broad overview of current codes of conduct, voluntary measures and practices", also comparing them with the EC's proposed Code of Conduct. Nanowerk News has prepared a brief review of the 49-page report.
Source:
NanoCode project published synthesis report on responsible development of nanotechnology
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=18235.php

Paper Advocates New Approaches To Gauge Safety Of Nanotech-Based Pesticides (NBP)
According to an announcement, a new report outlines six regulatory and educational issues that should be considered whenever nanoparticles are going to be used in pesticides. Several issues specific to exposure to NBPs are discussed, including: (1) disclosures of nanoparticle characteristics in product formulations; (2) additional uncertainty factors for NBPs with inadequate data; (3) route-specific approaches for assessing exposure; (4) testing with the commercial form of NBPs; (5) initiation of a health surveillance program; and (6) development of educational programs.
Sources:
Exposure Assessment: Recommendations for Nanotechnology-Based Pesticides
http://www.ijoeh.com/index.php/ijoeh/article/view/1482
New Approaches Needed to Gauge Safety of Nanotech-based Pesticides
http://oregonstate.edu/ua/ncs/archives/2010/oct/new-approaches-needed-gauge-safety-nanotech-based-pesticides

Nano Occupational Health Research Conference Set for France in April 2011
The Institut National de Recherche et de Sécurité (INRS), in association with the Partnership for European Research in Occupational Safety and Health, is organizing a conference, "INRS Occupational Health Research Conference 2011: Risks associated to Nanoparticles and Nanomaterials", to be held in Nancy, France, 5-7 April 2011. The meeting will cover health effect assessment, characterization of nanomaterials, exposure measurement and assessment, emission control and protective equipments, and risk assessment and risk management.
Source:
INRS Occupational Health Research Conference 2011: Nanotechnology risks
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=18333.php

Lucerne Symposium on Nanotechnology Risks and Opportunities
In early October, the Chemistry Section of the International Social Security Association (ISSA) held a two-day symposium in Lucerne, Switzerland, on Nanotechnology Risks and Opportunities, with more than 20 presentations "seeking to highlight the opportunities that nanotechnology offers for industry and medicine as well as the risks it poses … [and to provide] information on future legal regulations on a national and international level."
Sources:
European and U.S. specialists discuss nanotechnology risks and opportunities
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=18412.php
Conference site
http://www.issa.int/News-Events/Events/Nanotechnology-risks-and-opportunities

Reports and Information Suggested for Review

Current Legal Discourse on Potential Climate Change International Litigation
International climate change litigation and the negotiation process paper by lawyer Christoph Schwarte from the Foundation for International Environmental Law and Development (FIELD) argues that climate-vulnerable developing nations could create political pressure to further the negotiations for an international climate treaty by threatening to take industrialized nations to court under the existing international law system. The paper outlines the possible legal framework for such lawsuits.
Source:
Climate litigation
http://www.field.org.uk/news/climate-litigation

New Release Calls Attention to Vital Importance of Soil Conservation
A new release from the Earth Policy Institute calls attention to the rapid and worldwide loss of soil from the Earth’s land areas. Deforestation and other forms of “development”, as well as overgrazing, are rendering vast areas uncultivatable, with dire environmental consequences, including desertification, as in Nigeria, which is losing 351,000 hectares of range and crop land per year – land needed to support a growing population.
Source:
Civilization’s Foundation Eroding
www.earth-policy.org/index.php?/book_bytes/2010/pb4ch02_ss2

Climate Change Impact on Wars in Africa
The “Climate not to blame for African civil wars” study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America is challenging recent analyses that the adverse effects of climate change may increase the likelihood civil conflicts in Sub-Saharan Africa. The article by Halvard Buhaug (a Senior Researcher at the Centre for the Study of Civil War, PRIO), found that “major civil war years”, those with 1000 battle deaths or more, are more frequent in years following unusually wet periods. This conclusion contradicts a plethora of previous literature, which argued that climate change’s drying effect on the African continent would lead to greater instances of civil conflict.
Sources:
“Climate not to blame for African civil wars” by Buhaug, Halvard, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107, 38 (Sept. 21, 2010): 16477-16482
http://www.pnas.org/content/107/38/16477.full

Water Security and River Biodiversity
A recent article published in the journal Nature analyzed global threats to fresh water in a novel approach, considering human water security and biodiversity perspectives simultaneously and within a spatial accounting framework. The article by C.J. Vorosmarty, et al., entitled “Global threats to human water security and river biodiversity”, focused on rivers due to the fact that they are a main source of renewable fresh water for human and fresh water ecosystems. The authors found that nearly 80% of the world’s population (according to population statistics from 2000) lives in areas where, “…either incident human water security or biodiversity threat exceeds the 75th percentile.” Based on the results of their study, the authors argue that unless serious policy and financial commitments are made, fresh water systems are likely to remain under threat for the foreseeable future. However, they also claim that simple efforts to use water infrastructure, like dams and reservoirs, differently can help to prevent the damage that has occurred in areas already suffering from man-made water insecurity. The most at-risk river systems were found in the United States, much of Europe, the Ganga basin in India, and China’s Yangtze River.
Sources:
Dirty & dying, world’s rivers in crisis
http://www.circleofblue.org/waternews/2010/world/world%E2%80%99s-rivers-are-in-crisis-global-report-says/
Balancing water supply and wildlife
http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100929/full/news.2010.505.html
“Global threats to human water security and river biodiversity.” Vorosmarty, C.J., et al., Nature Vol. 467 (30 September 2010): 555-561.
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v467/n7315/full/nature09440.html

Back to top


September 2010

Strategic Plan for Biodiversity to Connect UN Conventions and UN Bodies
Representatives of biodiversity-related conventions met for the first time on September 1, 2010 in Switzerland to improve international environmental governance. Participants agreed that the 2011-2020 strategic plan should provide a framework for all biodiversity-related conventions and UN bodies. Capacity-building activities should be coordinated among the conventions, and national biodiversity strategies and action plans updated to cover implementation of all biodiversity-related conventions. The Strategic Plan is expected to be adopted at the 10th meeting of the COP to be held in October 2010, in Nagoya, Japan. A Nordic symposium on synergies among biodiversity-related MEAs, held earlier this year in Helsinki, noted that considering impediments, six conventions form a potentially manageable and coherent cluster: CBD, CITES, CMS, Ramsar, WHC and ITPGRFA, while the CBD, UNFCCC and UNCCD cluster would assure a better integration of biodiversity with climate change issues. Enhancing cooperation and coordination among the biodiversity-related MEAs follows the success of the synergies developed among the three on chemicals and waste— the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (see First Joint Meeting of the Main Conventions on Hazardous Chemicals to Improve International Environmental Governance in February 2010 report).
Sources:
First high level retreat among secretariats of biodiversity-related Conventions. 1 September 2010, Château de Bossey, Switzerland. Summary of the Retreat
http://www.cbd.int/cooperation/doc/report-hlr-2010-09-01-en.pdf
Ministerial forum calls for leadership for a new biodiversity vision for the twenty-first century
http://www.cbd.int/doc/press/2010/pr-2010-09-03-minister-forum-geneva-en.pdf

Environment-related Issues Dominate the UN General Assembly Debate
The need for increased and coordinated efforts from all countries to address climate change, vulnerability to natural disasters, and threats to biodiversity was the most frequent theme of the speeches of heads of state and governments addressing the UN General Assembly held 23-25 and 27-30 September 2010, and will probably top the 65th session’s agenda.
Sources:
General Assembly of the United Nations. General Debate: 65th Session, statements
http://gadebate.un.org/
Security Council holds first strategic reassessment in nearly 20 years
http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=36107&Cr=security+council&Cr1=
We can end poverty 2015. UN Summit, 20-22 September 2010
http://www.un.org/en/mdg/summit2010/

The UN and African Union to Increase Cooperation for Peace and Security
The UN and the African Union (AU) launched a Joint Task Force on peace and security for improving conflict prevention, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding across the continent (expanding their present efforts in Sudan, Guinea, and Somalia.) The task force will meet twice a year at the senior level to review immediate and long-term strategic issues, and its program of work will be set in coordination with the UN Office to the AU and the AU’s Permanent Observer Mission to the UN. The first high-level meeting of the Africa-European Union Energy Partnership was held September 14-15, 2010, in Vienna, Austria, addressing cooperation on energy security and renewable energy issues. The over 300 participants, including ministers and high-level representatives from 24 European and 33 African countries, also agreed upon concrete targets and objectives.
Sources:
UN and African Union launch joint task force on peace and security
http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=36192&Cr=African+Union&Cr1=
First High-Level Meeting of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership
http://www.iisd.ca/ymb/energy/aeep/
First High Level Meeting of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership
http://www.aeep-conference.org/
AfDB’s Response to Climate Change in Africa
http://www.afdb.org/en/news-events/article/afdbs-response-to-climate-change-in-africa-7165/

Pacific Region Programs for Addressing Environmental Security
The Pacific Regional Environment Programme (PREP) adopted the Strategic Plan for 2011-2015 at its 21st meeting held in Madang, Papua New Guinea, September 6-10, 2010. It creates a framework for regional environmental cooperation on climate change; biodiversity and ecosystem management; waste management and pollution prevention; and environmental monitoring and governance. The Asian Development Bank’s paper, Focused Action: Priorities for Addressing Climate Change in Asia and the Pacific, outlines similar priorities for the its work on clean energy, sustainable urban development, land use and forest management for carbon sequestration, climate-resilient development promotion, and strengthening of related policies and institutions.
Sources:
Pacific Environment Ministers’ Communiqué
http://www.sprep.org/article/news_detail.asp?id=822
Focused Action: Priorities for Addressing Climate Change in Asia and the Pacific
http://www.adb.org/documents/brochures/climate-change-priorities/default.asp

Robot Planes for Environmental Monitoring and Warfare Raise Legal Concerns
Robot planes are proliferating, as are moral and legal concerns regarding their use. The European Space Agency’s Business Incubation Centre at Darmstadt, Germany, and a German start-up company, MAVinci, have developed an unmanned aircraft system guided by satellite navigation (satnav) that uses autonomous micro-air vehicles (MAVs) with a wingspan of less than two meters, to inspect land areas. Boeing’s Phantom Works’ Vulture II program is developing Solar Eagle, a demonstration solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that will make its first flight in 2014, and is designed to lead to a large vehicle that can remain on station in the upper atmosphere for up to five years. An analogous effort is the hydrogen-powered demonstrator, Phantom Eye, designed to stay aloft for up to four days and scheduled to make its first flight in 2011. These are only a few of the latest advancements in remote-controlled warfare with promising positive environmental and security results. Nevertheless, recently, a trial in a Las Vegas court against the anti-drone protesters group Creech 14, who allegedly trespassed onto Creech Air Force Base in April 2009, was delayed for four months. This sets the stage for a debate concerning the eventual need for clear regulations regarding the circumstances for using remote-controlled warfare components.
Sources:
Satellite navigation steers unmanned micro-planes
http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEMMUZDODDG_index_0.html
The solar-powered spy plane that will be able to fly non-stop for FIVE years
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1313552/The-solar-powered-spy-plane-able-fly-non-stop-FIVE-years.html
Vegas Drone Trial Makes History
http://www.justicewithpeace.org/node/1763
The law versus justice. Vegas anti-drone trial makes history
http://www.lasvegascitylife.com/articles/2010/09/23/news/local_news/iq_38222529.txt

Technological Advances with Environmental Security Implications

Carbonates for Construction Drawn from Carbon Dioxide
Utilizing funding from Italian energy company Eni, Prof. Angela Belcher of MIT and two graduate students have developed a bench-scale, biological process to remove CO2 from the environment and transform it into solid carbonate. The procedure produces approximately two pounds of carbonate for each pound of CO2, without the use of heating, cooling, or toxic chemicals. The MIT group plans to test scaling the process by applying it to the CO2 emissions at a fossil-fuel-burning power plant. They also believe the process’s mineral ions can be obtained from briny water that is a byproduct of water desalination.
Source:
Putting carbon dioxide to good use
http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2010/belcher-carbon-0922.html

Advances in Wireless Location Detection
MIT’s Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems (LIDS) is developing an exploratory model of wireless “limits” that has relevance for improved, practical, high resolution location communication applications, which can utilize low cost, limited battery life mobile devices. The researchers say this is the first study of its kind and that they have “designed novel location-aware networks with sub-meter accuracy and high reliability” by calculating optimal efficiencies of signal detection within various wireless positioning systems. The group’s work will appear as a pair of papers in the IEEE Transactions on Information Theory October issue.
Source:
Can you find me now?
http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2010/location-sensing-0909.html

New Detection and Cleanup Techniques
Autonomous Network of Sea Skimmers Could Speed Oil Spill Cleanup
According to an article in Nanowerk News, the SENSEable City Laboratory at MIT has developed one prototype unit of a proposed fleet, Seaswarm, of autonomous solar-powered robot vessels, each of which moves a conveyor belt covered with a thin absorbent nanowire mesh over the sea surface to remove oil. The fabric can absorb up to twenty times its own weight in oil while repelling water. By heating the material, the oil can be removed and the nanofabric reused. The "swarm" would use GPS and a communications network to self-manage a coordinated attack on a spill.
Source:
MIT uses nanotechnology to build autonomous oil-absorbing robot
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=17787.php

New Technique Provides Simple, Sensitive Analysis of Aerosol
Dr. Patrick Roach and colleagues at DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland WA, have announced a new technique, Nanospray-Desorption/Electrospray Ionization (NanoDESI) for introducing aerosols into a mass spectrometer for detailed analysis of their molecular content. This single, generally applicable method, unlike former ones, does not require expert technicians or significant sample preparation.
Sources:
Molecular Characterization of Organic Aerosols Using Nanospray-Desorption/Electrospray Ionization-Mass Spectrometry
http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ac101449p
New technique provides sensitive analysis of atmospheric particles
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=18004.php

Updates on Previously Identified Issues

Natural Resources Fuel Violence in Eastern D.R. Congo
Approximately 500 citizens in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo were attacked by militias allegedly including Rwandan and Congolese rebel forces. The attacks occurred in several areas of the Kivu provinces at the epicenter of mineral mining activities and in proximity to forests and forest preserves where illegal timber logging and rare mineral extraction have historically fueled conflict. UN aid workers estimate that 890,000 people are internally displaced in the provinces, while UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Atul Khare indicated that current security forces in the region have been unable to maintain their peacekeeping mandate, which includes the protection of civilians and, by extension, control of natural resources through training and other military assistance to the government. Meanwhile, reports from international agencies, including the World Bank, have concluded that weak legal, financial, and policy frameworks in D. R. Congo discourage formulation of national development goals that can be aligned with judicious natural resource use. The weakness also inhibits implementation of effective control mechanisms for natural resource stewardship, including an inability to monitor, evaluate, and secure the use of land for productive agricultural purposes. [Related item: The Race for Natural Resources a Potential Impediment for Peace in June 2010 environmental security report.]
Sources:
Rising Global Interest in Farmland: Can It Yield Sustainable and Equitable Benefits?
http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTARD/Resources/ESW_Sept7_final_final.pdf
MONUSCO Mandate
http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/missions/monusco/mandate.shtml
UN has failed Congo mass rape victims, says investigator
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/08/congo-mass-rape-500-khare
DR Congo: UN mission chief concerned over violence in troubled North Kivu
http://www.isria.com/RESTRICTED/D/2010/SEPTEMBER_24/23_September_2010_62.php

Protests in Peru over Dam Irrigation and Hydroelectric Project Part of a Regional Picture
A major Peruvian irrigation and electricity project that includes diversion of water from the Apurímac River is protested by local citizens who claim they were not consulted during the tender process and that the project will destabilize their water source. A Spanish-Peruvian consortium received a concession to dam and divert water for irrigation and electricity capacity to encompass approximately 66,000 hectares (163,000 acres) of new land and to generate more than 500 Mw of power. The Majes-Sigüas Special Project does not appear to require contractual provisions for the benefit of local populations. An environment ministry official said that there are around 1,000 ongoing conflicts over water in this one region, of which more than 40 are potentially serious. [Related items: International Lawsuits for Environmental Crime Proliferate in January 2010, and Indigenous Peoples Demand More Involvement in Environmental Policies in May 2008 environmental security reports.]
Sources:
Have the climate wars begun?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/poverty-matters/2010/sep/21/climate-wars-machu-picchu-irrigation
Cusco joins Espinar strike against Majes-Siguas project
http://www.livinginperu.com/news-13201-outside-of-lima-peru-cusco-joins-espinar-strike-against-majes-siguas-project

Chinese Rare Earth Restrictions
China announced it is reducing its annual rare earth exports by 40%. This limits shipments to a little over 30,000 tonnes, which is 15,000-20,000 tonnes less than consumption by non-Chinese producers. Prices of the minerals have skyrocketed over the past year, and countries are searching for replacement sources; possibilities include the U.S., Australia, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, and Tanzania. The export curtailment follows a period of low Chinese prices that caused many countries’ mines to be dismantled and closed completely. The rate of discovery or reactivation for sources may be enough to prevent shortages; however, some of these countries have problems of stability, finances, qualified work force, and environmental policies, since the extraction of these elements involves the use of highly toxic chemicals. [Related item:China Applies for Seabed Mining Permit in Search for New Mineral Resources in July 2010 environmental security report.]
Sources:
Rare earths. Digging in. China restricts exports of some obscure but important commodities
http://economist.com/node/16944034
The Application of Rare Earth Metals is Widening Despite Lack of Engineering Data
http://www.docstoc.com/docs/5379510/rare-earth-elements
New Deposits of Rare Earths Ores in Tanzania Substitute for China?
http://agmetalminer.com/2010/04/08/new-deposits-of-rare-earths-ores-in-tanzania-substitute-for-china/

European Parliament Resolution on Jordan River Water Management Reform
The European Parliament has adopted a resolution on environmental and political concerns with regard to the Lower Jordan River area. It calls upon the leaders of Israel, Jordan, and Syria to address the humanitarian, security, and environmental threats posed by the Jordan River’s over-exploitation and mismanagement. An estimated 98% of the river’s freshwater has been redirected by Israel, Jordan, and Syria. Without intervention, large portions of the river are projected to run dry by 2011. This non-binding resolution opens the first official communication between the EU Parliament and these governments regarding the state of the Jordan River. [Related item: Call for International Intervention to Save the Jordan River in May 2006 environmental security report.]
Sources:
Situation of the Jordan River with special regard to the Lower Jordan River area
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&reference=P7-TA-2010-0314&format=XML&language=EN
European Parliament passes historic resolution in support of regional rehabilitation of the Lower Jordan River
http://foeme.org/www/?module=media_releases&record_id=85

Nordic Countries to Support Mekong Energy and Environment Partnership
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and the Nordic Development Fund are supporting the Energy and Environment Partnership for the Mekong region, a program to promote the use of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and clean technologies in Cambodia, the Lao PDR, Thailand, and Vietnam. [Related items on the Mekong region: Climate Change Requires Water Management Changes in February 2010 and Unless Water Management Improves, Conflicts over Water Are Inevitable in August 2006 environmental security reports.]
Source:
Finland to provide clean-up solutions for environment
http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/Environment/203445/Finland-to-provide-clean-up-solutions-for-environment.html

Extinction Threatening 21% of Africa’s Freshwater Species Could Have Security Implications
According to the Red List by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), 21% of all African freshwater species are currently under threat of extinction due to such factors as pollution, deforestation, and overfishing. The assessment was carried out over five years by 200 scientists who investigated over 5,000 species. Their report indicates that species extinction is directly related to food security in Africa and that a “whole systems” approach is required to ensure that infrastructure and agricultural development projects in Africa include freshwater management for biodiversity. [Related items: Biosafety Protocol Advances in February 2010, and Food and Water Security in June 2008 environmental security reports.]
Source:
African fresh water species threatened – livelihoods at stake
http://www.iucn.org/knowledge/news/?5898/African-freshwater-species-threatened---livelihoods-at-stake

New Regulations for Chemicals in California
California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) is moving ahead with the regulation development phase of the state’s Green Chemistry Initiative (AB 1879 and SB 509) to identify and prioritize chemicals for reduction or removal from consumer products. The preliminary list of Priority Chemicals will be published for public comment by June 1, 2012. The initiative is part of the larger state effort to regulate chemicals and includes the creation of a scientific advisory panel and toxics information clearinghouse with an Internet database component. Another California bill (revised SB 346) expected to get the governor’s approval is a complex legal compromise which limits the content of copper and other materials, such as lead, mercury, chromium and cadmium in brake pads. [Related item: New Substances Identified as Harmful to Human Health and the Environment in June 2009 environmental security report.]
Source:
California Issues New Green Chemistry Requirements for Consumer Products
http://www.mofo.com/files/Uploads/Images/100915-Green-Chemistry-Requirements.pdf
Copper in brake pads out to protect water, fish
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/aug/28/copper-brake-pads-out-protect-water-fish/

Climate Change
Scientific Evidence and Natural Disasters
A report by the Russian Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring revealed that over the past century, the country’s average temperature rose almost twice as fast as the global average and nearly three times faster in parts of Siberia during the winter.
The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration notes that the Atlantic Ocean was considerably warmer this year, with temperatures in some parts being 3ºF above the average by the end of August. The National Hurricane Center identified 15 tropical cyclones by the end of September, including seven hurricanes compared with two in an average season when waters are cooler. The Center predicts that by the end of the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season, there will be about 20 storms with at least 39 mph winds, compared with 11 in a typical year. These storms are serious threats to offshore oil facilities, as well as coastal communities. According to the New York-based Insurance Information Institute, eight of the ten most expensive U.S. catastrophes were caused by hurricanes.

Food and Water Security
According to the latest estimate, the number of hungry people worldwide decreased in 2010 to 925 million, from 1.023 billion in 2009, but is still unacceptably high, says the FAO and the World Food Programme.
At the emergency meeting convened on September 24th in response to the wheat export ban in Russia and food riots in Mozambique which killed 13 people, experts from FAO Member States agreed that there was no indication of an impending world food crisis. Nevertheless, recognizing that unexpected price hikes “are a major threat to food security” it was agreed that new measures to limit food price volatility and manage associated risks should be explored. Among the root causes of volatility, the meeting identified “Growing linkage with outside markets, in particular the impact of ‘financialization’ on futures markets”. The paper “Food Commodities Speculation and Food Price Crises” by Olivier De Schutter, UN’s special rapporteur on food, warns that the increases in price and the volatility of food commodities can be explained only by the emergence of a “speculative bubble.” In the meantime, ActionAid cautions that hunger could cost poor nations $450 billion a year – more than 10 times the amount needed to meet the Millennium Development Goal on halving hunger by 2015. At the “Securing Future Food” meeting convened by the UK Food Group, De Schutter said that the only long-term way to resolve the crisis would be to shift to “agro-ecological” ways of growing food that do not depend on fossil fuels, pesticides, or heavy machinery.
According to the World Bank report Rising Global Interest in Farmland: Can It Yield Sustainable and Equitable Benefits? investment overseas in agricultural land has increased tenfold since the 2008 food price rise. While large-scale farmland deals have the potential to deliver benefits to developing countries, the report warns against practices that harm the rights and opportunities for development of local people. Noting that the trend of overseas investment in agricultural land is likely to continue to grow, the report outlines seven principles for responsible agro-investment, including transparency, food security, and social and environmental sustainability.
The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) released a paper that describes the need for systematic planning in water storage and management to cope with increased rainfall variability. Although water storage increases water security, agricultural productivity, and adaptive capacity, the paper warns that poorly planned storage is a waste of financial resources and may aggravate climate change impacts. It calls for systems that combine complementary storage options and urges consideration of uncertainty in planning.

Adaptation
The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) has launched a Regional Cooperative Mechanism on Drought Monitoring and Early Warning. The Mechanism will provide an information portal--the Asia-Pacific Gateway on Disaster Risk Reduction and Development -- and aims to provide satellite products for drought monitoring. It will assist members in developing locally tailored services to facilitate decision making.
“The World Disasters Report 2010” by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies focuses on urbanization and climate change risk. It highlights that 2.57 billion urban dwellers living in low- and middle-income nations are exposed to unacceptable levels of risk fuelled by rapid urbanization, poor local governance, population growth, and poor health services. Urban planning should consider the effects of climate change to reduce vulnerability of millions of people, mostly those living in low-elevation coastal zones. Tackling urban risk is essential to reducing poverty and urban violence.

Arctic Dialogue
"The Arctic: Territory of Dialogue" forum was hosted by the Russian Geographical Society on September 22-23, 2010, attended by foreign and Russian scientists, political figures, NGOs, and business representatives. The main purpose of the forum was to discuss potential international cooperation in the Arctic. The Russia-Norway treaty was cited as an example several times. While highlighting that in 50 years the Arctic may become a major source of energy and a key transportation route, Vladimir Putin noted that priorities should be creating comfortable life conditions for the people living in the region, and respect for the fragile ecosystem by “the most stringent environmental requirements,” as well as development of research and environmental infrastructures. Well-known polar explorer and state Duma deputy Artur Chilingarov suggested that the forum should become a regular event, and a Polar Decade launched. Experts also noted the need to create a single global database on the Arctic, while Russian Emergencies Ministry Sergey Shoygu (who is also president of the Russian Geographic Society) said that an atlas of the Arctic would be prepared soon. Along the same lines, the statement produced by the 9th Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region, hosted by the European Parliament in Brussels, September 13-15, 2010, highlights the need for continuous improvement of the assessment of the social and economic consequences of natural resource exploration and exploitation, consequences of climate change for Arctic populations and wildlife habitats, cooperation in education and research, and the tighter economic and geopolitical links.

Post-Copenhagen Negotiations
In preparation for the next session discussing the commitments for the Annex I Parties, to be held in Tianjin, China, October 4-9, 2010, the UNFCCC Secretariat has published several documents, including a draft proposal with amendments to the Kyoto Protocol http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2010/awg14/eng/12.pdf .
Sources:
Medvedev’s Climate Moment
http://www.themoscowtimes.com/mobile/article/413772.html
National Hurricane Center
http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/2010atlan.shtml
925 million in chronic hunger worldwide
http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/45210/icode/
Food price volatility a major threat to food security
http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/45690/icode/
ActionAid report “Who’s really fighting hunger?”
http://www.actionaid.org/assets/pdf/ActionAid-scorecard-report-2010.pdf
Rising Global Interest in Farmland: Can It Yield Sustainable and Equitable Benefits? Report
http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTARD/Resources/ESW_Sept7_final_final.pdf
Water Storage in an Era of Climate Change: Addressing the Challenge of Increasing Rainfall Variability
http://www.iwmi.cgiar.org/Publications/Blue_Papers/PDF/Blue_Paper_2010-final.pdf
World Disasters Report 2010 - Is urban the new rural?
http://www.ifrc.org/publicat/wdr2010/index.asp
Putin identifies Russia’s priorities in Arctic
http://www.itar-tass.com/eng/level2.html?NewsID=15522974&PageNum=0
Russia to draw up new Arctic atlas
http://en.rian.ru/science/20100922/160679591.html
9th Conference of Artic Parliamentarians, European Parliament, Brussels, Belgium
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/arcticparl/
Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol
Fourteenth session, Tianjin, 4–9 October 2010
http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2010/awg14/eng/12.pdf

Nanotechnology Safety Issues
Report Sums Up Current Developments in Nanomaterial Safety
According to Nanowerk News, "a new document from the OECD, Current Developments/Activities on the Safety of Manufactured Nanomaterials, provides information on current/planned activities related to the safety of manufactured nanomaterials in OECD member and non-member countries that attended at the 7th meeting of OECD's Working Party on Manufactured Nanomaterials (Paris France, 7-9 July 2010)", as well as written reports on relevant current activities in other international organizations such as International Organization for Standards (ISO), FAO, and the WHO.
Sources:
New OECD report sums up current developments on nanomaterial safety
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=18180.php
Environment Directorate Joint Meeting of the Chemicals Committee and the Working Party on Chemicals, Pesticides and Biotechnology
http://www.oecd.org/officialdocuments/displaydocument/?cote=env/jm/mono(2010)42&doclanguage=en

EPA Issues Final Significant New Use Rules (SNUR) on Carbon Nanotubes
The EPA has issued final Significant New Use Rules (SNUR) for single- and multi-walled carbon nanotubes, which had been the subject of premanufacture notices (PMN P08177, P08328). Persons who intend to manufacture, import, or process either of these materials for a use that is designated as a significant new use by the final rule must notify EPA at least 90 days before commencing that activity. EPA states that it believes the SNURs are necessary because these chemical substances may be hazardous to human health and the environment.
Sources:
75 FR 56880 - Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes and Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes; Significant New Use Rules
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/granule/FR-2010-09-17/2010-23321
EPA Issues Final SNURs for Carbon Nanotubes
http://nanotech.lawbc.com/2010/09/articles/united-states/federal/epa-issues-final-snurs-for-carbon-nanotubes/

EU Gearing Up for Active Nanotech Regulatory Year in 2011
Nanowerk News reported on a conference, held within the framework of the Belgian Presidency of the EU, on the development of nanomaterials management and information tools. The Belgian Minister for Energy, Environment, Sustainable Development and Consumer Protection stated, "We await the next European Environment and Health Action Plan which is expected to address the challenge of nanomaterials among its priority areas. In 2011, the Commission will also have to respond to the European Parliament Resolution adopted in April 2009, on the regulatory aspects of nanomaterials. According to the resolution, various ambitious measures will be taken in order to ensure safety with regard to nanomaterials and nanotechnology." The Minister put forward proposals for five specific responses.
Source:
Regulation of products containing nanomaterial: Traceability, a pre-condition to acceptability
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=18061.php

European Officials Discuss Nanotech Regulation
Government officials from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein met at the 4th International Nano Authorities Dialogue, organized by the Innovation Society, St.Gallen, focusing on legal and technical issues about the insurability and regulation of nanotechnologies. According to a news release, key elements of the presentations were that "nanotechnologies must be insurable, …the potential risks of manufactured nanomaterials for human health and the environment must be thoroughly and continuously monitored, and … the exchange of safety information between the industry and the authorities and along the value chain plays an important role to ensure that risks are identified in an early phase and measures can be taken proactively."
Sources:
Insurability of nanotechnologies - regulatory gaps identified, risk monitoring requested
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=18193.php
Authorities Discuss Insurability of Nanotechnologies – Regulatory Gaps Identified, Risk Monitoring Requested
http://nanotechwire.com/news.asp?nid=10594

Risk Assessment Study - Nanotechnology and Food Safety
The Centre for Food Safety of the Government of Hong Kong has published a comprehensive 39-page literature review, Risk Assessment Study - Nanotechnology and Food Safety, accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation.
Source:
Nanotechnology and Food Safety – Report
http://www.cfs.gov.hk/english/programme/programme_rafs/programme_rafs_ft_01_04.html

Lack of Nanoparticle Characterization Obstructs Development of Nanomedicines
An item in NatureNews, discussing the recent first international workshop on nanotech medicines held by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in London, reports on statements by several experts that the lack of reliable characterization techniques for nanoparticles, and the consequent inability to analyze and understand nanoparticle/biosystem interactions and possible hazards, are obstructing the development of nanomedicines.
Source:
Tiny traits cause big headaches. Nanotech medicines held up by lack of particle characterization.
http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100914/full/467264b.html

Review Points Out “Nanomaterial” Definition Problem
Reporting on a recent nanotech workshop in the UK, foodqualitynews.com concurs with the workshop’s conclusion that "Agreeing on a legal definition of nanomaterials that satisfies food manufacturers, regulators, enforcement bodies and consumers will be hugely challenging." The EU has one definition in the Cosmetics Regulation, the latest draft of the revised Novel Food Regulation contains another, and a third is being developed by the EC's independent Scientific Committee for Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks. Factors involved include size, shape, functionality, and (lack of) similarity to non-nano versions of the same substance. A side issue is what purpose is served by "nano-labeling" of products, if the safety implications of that characterization are uncertain.
Source:
Nano definition is a legal minefield, warn scientists
http://www.foodqualitynews.com/Legislation/Nano-definition-is-a-legal-minefield-warn-scientists

Engineered Nanoparticles: Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Risks and Prevention Measures
The Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail in Montreal has released the second edition of its report, Engineered Nanoparticles: Current Knowledge about Occupational Health and Safety Risks and Prevention Measures. According to Nanowerk News, the 153-page report concludes, "As for health hazards, many toxicological studies on different substances have demonstrated toxic effects on various organs. It is found that in general, an NP will normally be more toxic than the same chemical substance of larger dimensions, but it is currently impossible to determine which measuring parameter for exposure is best correlated with the measured effects." It also calls for a preventive and even precautionary approach and emphasizes the enormous need for developing new knowledge.
Sources:
Engineered Nanoparticles. Current Knowledge about OHS Risks and Prevention Measures
http://www.irsst.qc.ca/files/documents/PubIRSST/R-656.pdf
New report on engineered nanoparticle risk
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=18142.php

Discussion on Federal/State Regulation of Nanotech
A recent article in Nanotechnology Now, We Should Have Seen It Coming: States Regulating Nanotechnology, discussed the increasing trend for individual states to consider or enact nanotech regulations, reflecting a discontent with actions (or inaction) on the part of the federal government. A subsequent piece, State-level nano regulation: Yes, indeed, the industry "should have seen it coming" – it caused it!, appeared in an Environmental Defense Fund blog, and attributed that trend indirectly to the nanotech industry’s efforts to block or weaken federal controls.
Sources:
We Should Have Seen It Coming: States Regulating Nanotechnology
http://www.nanotech-now.com/columns/?article=484
State-level nano regulation: Yes, indeed, the industry "should have seen it coming" – it caused it!
http://blogs.edf.org/nanotechnology/2010/09/10/state-level-nano-regulation-yes-indeed-the-industry-should-have-seen-it-coming-%E2%80%93-it-caused-it/

German Risk Assessment Body Publishes Three Nanotech Reports
BfR, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, has published three reports on German opinions and attitudes about nanotechnology-related risks.
Delphi Study on Nanotechnology: Expert Survey of the Use of Nanomaterials in Food and Consumer Products discussed nine general risk criteria and nine nano-specific test criteria.
Perception of Nanotechnology inInternet-based Discussions: The risks and opportunities of nanotechnology and nanoproducts: results of an online discourse analysis according to Nanowerk News, has as its purpose “to analyse German-language online discussions of nanotechnology in an attempt to identify the perceived risks, opportunities, benefits and expectations associated with this field of research and development.”
Risk Perception of Nanotechnology – Analysis of Media Coverage report examines 2001-2007 media coverage of nanotechnology in almost 1700 articles published in German newspapers and magazines.
Source:
German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment publishes three new reports on nanotechnology
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=17898.php

Nanosilver Compound Turns Up in Municipal Wastewater
According to an Environmental Defense Fund blog, scientists in The Center for NanoBioEarth at Virginia Tech identified and characterized silver sulfide* nanoparticles in the sewage sludge produced by an operating municipal wastewater treatment plant. This is the first time that such material has been detected in a field-scale study. It is not certain, although stated as "likely", that the material detected in the sludge originated from products containing silver nanoparticles that were converted to sulfides in the processing.
* - The blog post incorrectly identifies the nanoparticles as potentially toxic silver rather than the correct characterization as inert silver sulfide, as stated in the original paper.
Sources:
Sludging through the nano lifecycle: Caution ahead
http://blogs.edf.org/nanotechnology/2010/09/23/sludging-through-the-nano-lifecycle-caution-ahead/
Discovery and Characterization of Silver Sulfide Nanoparticles in Final Sewage Sludge Products
http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es101565j

French Lab to Be Set up for Study of Nanotube Toxicity in Aqueous Environments
A French component of the international firm Arkema, together with the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), the Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse, and the Université Paul Sabatier have agreed to establish a joint research laboratory, NAUTILE (NAnotUbes et écoToxIcoLogiE), dedicated to the study of the ecotoxicological impact of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) in aquatic environments.
Source:
NAUTILE: the first research laboratory for the study of the ecotoxicity of carbon nanotubes in the aquatic environment
http://prodawl.arkema.com/sites/group/en/press/pr_detail.page?p_filepath=/templatedata/Content/Press_Release/data/en/2010/100910_nautile_the_first_research_laboratory_for_the_study_of_the_ecotoxicity_of_carbon_nanotubes.xml

Reports and Information Suggested for Review

FAO Launches Global Fire Information Management System
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization has launched the Global Fire Information Management System (GFIMS), a monitoring system that integrates remote sensing and GIS technologies to deliver MODIS hotspot/fire locations to natural resource managers and other stakeholders around the world. (MODIS is the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA’s Aqua satellite). It is offering almost real-time detection of emerging fires, and alerting users through an online portal or via e-mail, and soon by text messages.
Sources:
Poor to benefit from global fire monitoring system
http://www.scidev.net/en/news/poor-to-benefit-from-global-fire-monitoring-system.html
GFIMS: http://www.fao.org/nr/gfims/gf-home/en/

Environmental Aspects Should Be Factored More Into Conventional Security Concerns
In a Capitol Hill briefing, defense experts underlined that environmental degradation and the fight for natural resources threaten U.S. security in the 21st century, as depletion of resources exacerbates political instability and conflict in the developing world, increasing the number of failed states. Therefore, integrating environmental problems into security policy is essential and should be on a par with conventional security aspects. For many defense officials in developing countries, security is seen in terms of food, water, and environmental security, and natural disasters. Along the same lines, an article on Pakistan questions the justification of funds allocated to conventional security compared to those for human or environmental security. In 2010, Pakistan’s defense budget will rise 17%, to $5.2 billion, while the week of flooding has by far surpassed the devastation of anything the Taliban could accomplish. The article notes that this is a dilemma of much of the developing world, mostly affecting those vulnerable to climate change and disasters. “Without neglecting the very real challenges posed by insurgency, civil war, or external invasion, the time has come to begin shifting resources toward human and environmental security,” says the article.
Sources:
Environment key to U.S. security: Congress briefing
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE68L5NR20100922
Conventional versus Human Security: How Climate Risks Decrease Stability
http://pisaspeak.wordpress.com/2010/09/04/conventional-versus-human-security-how-climate-risks-decrease-stability/

World Energy Outlook 2010
The World Energy Outlook 2010 is looking at alternatives for switching to a reliable and environmentally sustainable energy system and post-Copenhagen solutions to limit the global temperature increase to 2°C and how these actions would impact oil markets and renewable energy. It presents updated projections to 2035 of energy demand, production, trade and investment by fuels and regions, and, for the first time, it includes the results from a new scenario based on governments’ pledges to tackle climate change and growing energy insecurity.
Source:
World Energy Outlook 2010
http://www.worldenergyoutlook.org/

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August 2010

UN Resolution Acknowledges Access to Clean Water and Sanitation a Human Right
The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution recognizing access to clean water and sanitation as a human right, a move that might be a step forward towards a future treaty. The non-binding resolution received 122 votes in favor, no votes against, while 41 countries abstained—including Australia, Britain, Canada, and the U.S. Introducing the resolution, Bolivia’s representative pointed out that more children are killed annually by lack of access to water than by AIDS, malaria and measles combined, while lack of sanitation affects 40% of the world’s population.
Sources:
General Assembly Adopts Resolution Recognizing Access to Clean Water, Sanitation as Human Right, by Recorded Vote of 122 in Favor, None against, 41 Abstentions
http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2010/ga10967.doc.htm
General Assembly declares access to clean water and sanitation is a human right
http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=35456&Cr=sanitation&Cr1

Food Security Concerns Increase Around the World
The Food Security Risk Index 2010 reveals that the countries most at risk from shocks to food supplies are also among the countries with serious security problems. Rated at most “extreme risk” are: Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Eritrea, Sudan, Ethiopia, Angola, Liberia, Chad, and Zimbabwe. The Index, assessing basic food staple risks for 163 countries using 12 criteria, is compiled by Maplecroft and developed in collaboration with the World Food Programme.
Grain prices have soared in August as Russia, the world’s third wheat producer in 2009/10, banned grain exports until the end of the year as the fires and worst drought on record ravaged crops. Grain exports from Ukraine, the world’s sixth largest wheat exporter, are also facing delays after the introduction of a new system of customs controls. Russia said it would also ask Belarus and Kazakhstan (also major grain exporters and co-members of a regional customs union), to enact a similar ban.
Source:
African nations dominate Maplecroft’s new Food Security Risk Index - China and Russia will face challenges
http://www.maplecroft.com/about/news/food-security.html
Russian Export Ban Raises Global Food Fears
http://online.wsj.com/article/NA_WSJ_PUB:SB10001424052748703748904575410740617512592.html
Putin bans Russia grain exports due to drought
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100805/ts_afp/russiaheatwavefiresfarmcropscommoditiesgrain_20100805162243

Scientists Create 20-Year Roadmap for Nuclear Energy
Scientists at University of Cambridge and Imperial College London have outlined a global plan for nuclear energy to the year 2030. The first stage would replace or extend the life of existing reactors while the second would deploy portable, more efficient reactors with replaceable parts. These scientists claim that flexible “out of the box” modular reactors and those that can be moored offshore would require less maintenance and minimal infrastructural support, have 70-year operational lives, and provide better opportunity for safe radioactive waste recycling.
Sources:
Scientists call for a global nuclear renaissance in new study
http://www.physorg.com/news200842486.html
Experts say federal nuclear waste panel overlooks public mistrust
http://www.physorg.com/news200842407.html

First U.S.-Russian Environmental Protection Park
The first U.S. Russian joint environmental protection project is creating the Beringia international conservation park, which will stretch over millions of hectares of Chukotka and Alaska (the Russian side alone might be about 1.8 million hectares.)
Source:
A breakthrough in Beringia. Russia and the US are creating a giant international park in Chukotka and Alaska
http://rt.com/Top_News/Press/eng/2010-08-25/?fullstory

Technological Advances with Environmental Security Implications

Nanowire Semiconductors for Nano-sensors and Nano-robotics
Zinc oxide has been used to create a transistor utilizing the piezoelectric effect (mechanical motion inducing voltage) that can process logic operations through its interface with the ambient environment. No external electric signal is required to operate the nanotech processor gate. George Institute of Technology scientists who developed it claim that the technology can be joined with sensors and energy-drawing components to create, “self-sustainable, all-nanowire-based, multifunctional self-powered autonomous intelligent nanoscale systems.
Sources:
Push-Button Logic on the Nanoscale
http://www.physorg.com/news200213686.html
Strain-Gated Piezotronic Logic Nanodevices
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/adma.201001925/abstract;jsessionid=3A96C84BCE895C3E76C39F13052E26FA.d02t01

New Detection and Cleanup Techniques
More Reliable "Kill Switch" Found for Genetically Engineered Microbes
Prof. James Collins and colleagues at Boston University claim development of a highly tunable genetic "switch" offering a high degree of control over genetically engineered microbes, lessening worries about "rogue" organisms escaping into the environment. According to a descriptive article, they have devised a "highly tunable genetic [RNA] 'switch' that … makes it possible to stop the production of a protein and restart it again. The switch, which could be used to control any gene, can also act as a 'dimmer switch' to finely tune how much protein a microbe would produce over time."
Source:
A ‘Kill Switch’ for Rogue Microbes
http://www.technologyreview.com/biomedicine/26094

DNA Backbone Provides Foundation for Sensitive New Multi-material Sensor
Prof. Eric Kool of Stanford Univ., Stanford, CA, and colleagues report sticking small sets of sensitive fluorescent detector compounds onto short strands of one of the two long parallel chains of sugar and phosphate molecules forming the backbone of DNA to produce a new, highly effective sensor for organic vapors. The DNA structure provides an ideal framework in which the sensing molecules can react with the target and with each other to produce the indicative effects. Changing the identity and sequence of the attachments along the chain produced different fluorescence patterns for the test materials. This raises the possibility of combining a number of such units into a versatile sensing system for environmentally significant components.
Sources:
DNA puts Stanford chemists on scent of better artificial nose
http://news.stanford.edu/news/2010/august/newnose-082310.html
Polyfluorophores on a DNA Backbone: Sensors of Small Molecules in the Vapor Phase
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/anie.201002701/abstract

Nano-based Olfactory Sensor Offers Diversity, Extreme Miniaturization
Prof. Andrei Kolmakov, of the Physics Dept. at Southern Illinois Univ. at Carbondale, and colleagues, have announced developing a chemical sensing device (an "electronic nose") based on a wedge-like nanowire (nanobelt) of tin dioxide in a new structural configuration providing multiple sensitivities in a single wire. Ultimate sizes for the devices could be in the range of micrometers.
Sources:
Single-Nanobelt Electronic Nose: Engineering and Tests of the Simplest Analytical Element
http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/nn100435h
‘Smart’ sand: grain-sized nanotechnology electronic noses are on the horizon
http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=17373.php

New Water Purification Technologies
A new disposable filter that looks like a tea bag and fits into the neck of a bottle reportedly can clean highly polluted water. The inside of the tea bag material is coated with a thin film of biocides, encapsulated within nanofibers, which kill pathogenic microbes. The bag is filled with active carbon granules that remove all harmful chemicals, e.g., endocrine disruptors. According to the developers, each “tea bag” filter can purify one liter of the most polluted water to the point where it is 100% safe to drink. It is discarded after use. The invention was developed by a team of scientists led by Prof. Eugene Cloete, Dean of the Faculty of Science at Stellenbosch Univ. in South Africa, and is one of the first major projects of the new Stellenbosch Univ. Water Institute.
A team of researchers at Stanford University, Stanford CA, have demonstrated a new water purification technique in which water flows thru electrified (-20 V) cotton cloth dyed with ink containing bactericidal silver nanowires and carbon nanotubes. The electric potential greatly improves the effectiveness of the nanosilver. The high-speed process de-activates 80-90% of the bacteria, but multiple units could be cascaded to produce acceptable reductions, or the device could be used as a preprocessor for other purification systems, reducing their bacterial load.
The International Journal of Nuclear Desalination article Nanotechnology for water purification offers an overview of nanotech-based devises for water treatment. According to the abstract, “[n]ew sensor technology combined with micro and nanofabrication technology is expected to lead to small, portable and highly accurate sensors to detect chemical and biochemical parameters in water. Potential opportunities and risks associated with this technology are also highlighted.
Sources:
SU scientists develop a high-tech ‘tea bag’ filter for cleaner water
http://blogs.sun.ac.za/news/2010/07/28/su-scientists-develop-a-high-tech-%E2%80%98tea-bag%E2%80%99-filter-for-cleaner-water/
High Speed Water Sterilization Using One-Dimensional Nanostructures
http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1021/nl101944e
Nanotechnology for water purification. International Journal of Nuclear Desalination 2010 - Vol. 4, No.1 pp. 49 – 57 (abstract)
http://www.inderscience.com/search/index.php?action=record&rec_id=33766&prevQuery=&ps=10&m=or

Photocatalytic Pavement Removes Nitrogen Oxides from City Air
F. C. Nüdling Betonelemente of Fulda, Germany, has developed the "Air Clean" nitrogen oxide-reducing paving slab, which is coated with photocatalytic titanium dioxide nanoparticles that convert harmful substances such as nitrogen oxides into nitrates that are harmlessly washed away. One test, in Erfurt, indicated an average degradation rate of 20% for NO2 and 38% for NO.
Source:
Nanoparticle-coated pavement that cleans the air
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=17444.php

New Index Aids Characterization of Biological Reaction to Nanomaterials
Prof. Xin-Rui Xia and colleagues at NC State University have published a method for predicting how biological proteins will react with nanoparticles of given compositions. According to their paper’s abstract, “The method successfully predicted the adsorption of various small molecules onto carbon nanotubes,… the nanodescriptors were also measured for 12 other nanomaterials … [and] can be used to develop pharmacokinetic and safety assessment models for nanomaterials.
Sources:
An index for characterization of nanomaterials in biological systems. Nature Nanotechnology, 15 August 2010 | doi:10.1038/nnano.2010.164
http://www.nature.com/nnano/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/nnano.2010.164.html
Predicting how nanoparticles will react in the human body
http://www.physorg.com/news201094921.html

Increasing Energy Efficiency Technologies
Experts Say Possible Rare Earth Shortages Not A Real Problem for Electric Cars
In response to questions about the possible shortage or non-availability of the rare earth elements required for much of current electronics, in particular electric cars, experts on The Millennium Project's global-energy listserv have indicated that the problem, for electric cars at least, is, in a sense, illusory: the automotive industry need only move over to switched reluctance motors (SRM), which do not need rare earth components and work better in cars than the current permanent magnet (PM) ones; the real problem is technological inertia – a lack of demand for what is actually a better solution to propulsion. Further, there is currently no availability problem with import of rare-earth-using PM motors.
Source:
Millennium Project “global-energy” listserve discussion
List Archives: http://mp.cim3.net/forum/global-energy/ (ID and password required)

Solar Energy Conversion System Uses Both Photovoltaic and Thermal Technologies
Prof. Nick Melosh of Stanford University and colleagues have reported a new solar energy conversion technology, "photon enhanced thermionic emission," (PETE) which allows a photovoltaic cell to operate at temperatures over 200ºC, enabling the construction of a solar energy conversion system that utilizes both solar light and heat to produce electricity.
Source:
New solar energy conversion process could revamp solar power production
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=17454.php

New Supercapacitor Design Claims Large Improvements in Energy Storage
Prof. Yury Gogotsi of Drexel Univ., Philadelphia PA, and colleagues have announced the development of a supercapacitor which they describe as having more power per volume comparable to electrolytic capacitors, as well as four orders of magnitude higher capacitance, an order of magnitude higher energy per volume, and three orders of magnitude higher speed. According to the announcement and abstract, the microsupercapacitors are produced by integrating into a microdevice, without the use of organic binders and polymer separators, a component comprising a several-µm-thick layer of onion-like 6–7 nm. carbon spheres, yielding a high surface-to-volume ratio of active material.
Sources:
Ultrahigh-power micrometre-sized supercapacitors based on onion-like carbon. Nature Nanotechnology Newsletter (2010) DOI:10.1038/nnano.2010.162
http://www.nature.com/nnano/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/nnano.2010.162.html
International research team develops ultrahigh-power energy storage devices
http://www.physorg.com/news201272263.html

New Window Developments Aim at Saving, Generating Energy
Soladigm, Inc. of Milpitas, CA is working on a line of lower cost electrochromic windows which allow electronic control of the radiation passing through them, keeping out unwanted solar heat in summer and allowing it to pass during winter, thereby reducing air conditioning and heating costs. The windows contain multiple electronic control layers sandwiched between two layers of glass. The company has licensed technology to resolve problems with the idea. Its overall cost-competitiveness with conventional windows, or with low-E windows, that both passively block near-infra-red is uncertain.
EnSol AS, of Bergen, Norway, in cooperation with the Univ. of Leicester, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, has patented a novel thin film solar cell technology that they claim could be coated as a thin transparent film (on, for example, windows in buildings) to produce power on a large scale. They hope for commercial availability by 2016.
Sources:
Making Smart Windows that Are Also Cheap
http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/25989/page1/
Soladigm Company
http://soladigm.com/index.html
New technique announced to turn windows into power generators
http://www2.le.ac.uk/ebulletin/news/press-releases/2010-2019/2010/08/nparticle.2010-08-10.1427638716
EnSol Company
http://www.ensol.no/index.htm

Updates on Previously Identified Issues

Cimate Change

Scientific Evidence and Natural Disasters
The 2009 State of the Climate report released by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration concludes that there is no doubt that the world is warming. The past decade was the hottest on record, each of the last three decades was warmer than the one before, and the average temperature increased a little over 0.5ºC (0.9ºF) over the past 50 years. The report is based on compilation of 10 indicators, including historical data on temperatures, humidity, sea levels, sea ice, glaciers and spring snow cover going back to 1940 or 1850, depending on the type of data. The results show increases in: temperature of air over land and oceans, and of sea surface; sea level; ocean heat; humidity; and temperature in the troposphere. At the same time, there were decreases in: Arctic sea ice; glaciers; and spring snow cover in the northern hemisphere. The report is the result of collaboration among about 300 scientists from 160 research groups in 48 countries. It makes no comments about the potential causes of warming.
The World Meteorological Organization has published information on the unprecedented sequence of recent extreme weather events. A longer time range is required to determine whether an individual event is attributable to climate change, but the sequence of current events matches IPCC’s projections of more frequent and more intense extreme weather events due to global warming, says the WMO. While the northern hemisphere had to deal with extreme heat waves, the southern hemisphere witnessed intense cold and record snows. There are fears that the abnormal weather triggers social and environmental problems around the world.

Melting Glaciers and Sea Ice
A new ice island broke from the Petermann Glacier, one of the two largest remaining glaciers in Greenland. Satellite imagery reveals that the Petermann Glacier lost about 25% of its 43-mile long floating ice-shelf. The new ice island has an area of at least 100 square miles and is 600 feet thick. As it floats towards the Atlantic, there are concerns that it might threaten Canada’s offshore platforms and shipping in the area.
Permafrost temperatures during the International Polar Year (2007‑09) were 2ºC (3.6ºF) warmer than they were 20 or 30 years ago, found scientists based on data collected from 575 boreholes located throughout North America, Russia and the Nordic region. They also noted that the rate of thawing of cold permafrost is higher than that of warmer permafrost.

Food and Water Security
A study by the FAO and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) finds that rising temperatures during the past 25 years have already cut the yield growth rate of rice by 10-20% in several locations in Asia, which currently produces more than 90% of the world’s rice.
China’s soil erosion has reached nearly 17% of its total land cover. If current trends continue, 40% of food production will be lost in the next 50 years, according to a study led by the Ministry of Water Resources, and science and engineering academies.
The International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) released a book of abstracts from the Food Security and Climate Change in Dry Areas meeting held in February 2010, in Amman, Jordan. The abstracts are organized into themes on: scenarios for climate change in dry areas; impacts on natural resource availability, agricultural production systems and environmental degradation; impacts on food security, livelihoods and poverty; mitigation, adaptation and ecosystem resilience; and enabling environments to cope with impacts.

Migration
The website for the Climate Change Displaced Persons Convention Project has added a frequently asked questions (FAQ) section. It gives a comprehensive overview of issues related to climate change-caused displacement.
At the request of Marshall Islands leaders, Michael Gerrard, who leads Columbia Law School's Center for Climate Change Law, issued a call for papers and is organizing a conference on the questions related to national sovereignty of countries (or parts of countries) that might disappear due to rising sea levels; e.g., citizenship of their people, control of offshore rights, etc.
An estimated 18 million people were displaced by the floods in Pakistan—in what is considered the worst natural disaster to date attributable to climate change. In the southern Sindh province, as the Indus River was running at 40 times its normal volume of water, almost one million people were displaced in addition to some 17 million people already displaced by monsoon floods. An estimated 1.2 million homes were destroyed and 3.2 million hectares (7.9m acres) of farmland representing about 14% of Pakistan’s cultivated land were damaged, triggering famine and water concerns.

Adaptation
The World Bank’s Synthesis Report on the Economics of Adaptation to Climate Change Study, estimates the costs of adaptation to climate change to be between $70-100 billion per year between now and 2050. The study argues that investments in adaptation should start with low-regret options: measures that tackle existing weather risks, such as increased investment in water storage in drought-prone basins or protection against storms and flooding in coastal zones and/or urban areas.
On August 16th, the UN launched the Decade for Deserts and the Fight Against Desertification, which will run from 2010 to 2020 with the goal of raising awareness and action to improve protection and management of the world’s drylands. The global launch took place in Fortaleza, Brazil, during the Second International Conference on Climate, Sustainability and Development in Semi-arid Regions (ICID 2010).
The UN Secretary-General launched a High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability to “explore approaches for building low-carbon, green and resilient economy” that can efficiently address together poverty and climate change. The High Level Panel’s report, to be issued by the end of 2011, will provide inputs into inter-governmental processes, including the Rio 2012 conference, and the annual meetings of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The fifth Annual Meeting of the Pacific Disaster Risk Management Partnership Network took place 9-13 August 2010, in Suva, Fiji under the theme “Enhancing the Implementation of the Pacific Disaster Risk Reduction and Disaster Management Framework for Action through a Multi-stakeholder Approach.” The meeting aimed to, among other goals, share preliminary findings of the regional progress review in implementing the Regional Framework for Action (RFA) and strengthen South-South Cooperation with the Caribbean community.

Health
The WHO, together with the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Government of Costa Rica, organized a meeting in July 2010 to share experiences in evaluating health risks. Representatives from 16 countries discussed draft guidance for health vulnerability and adaptation assessment that was produced by PAHO, and shared their experience in carrying out national assessments. A new version of the guidance incorporating national inputs will be published later this year.

Post-Copenhagen Negotiations
The Bonn negotiations for a post-Kyoto protocol, held August 2-6, 2010, made progress on planning for the substance of the November-December 2010 Climate Change Conference in Mexico It also focused on the scale of emission reductions from Annex I parties to the Protocol  subsequent to the 2012 commitment period. The draft text was further developed and will form the basis for negotiations in Tianjin, China, in October, with the outcomes to be considered in Cancún, Mexico, in November.
At the 41st Annual Meeting of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), held August 3-6, 2010 in Port Vila, Vanuatu, the leaders of Smaller Island States discussed a consolidated Pacific position for the concurrent Cancun climate change conference, as well as potential international funding mechanisms related to the Copenhagen Accord.
Sources:
Global warming signs unmistakable: report
http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2010/07/29/climate-change-study-noaa.html
WMO Information on Current Extreme Events: http://www.wmo.int/pages/mediacentre/news/extremeweathersequence_en.html
Greenland glacier calves island 4 times the size of Manhattan, UD scientist reports
http://www.udel.edu/udaily/2011/aug/greenland080610.html
Borehole network confirms, permafrost is thawing worldwide
http://thearcticsounder.com/article/1032borehole_network_confirms_permafrost_is
Hotter nights threaten food security - rice at risk
http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/44618/icode/
Climate Change Displaced Persons Convention Project
http://www.ccdpconvention.com/index.html (see FAQ)
If a Country Sinks Beneath the Sea, Is It Still a Country?
http://www.nytimes.com/cwire/2010/08/23/23climatewire-if-a-country-sinks-beneath-the-sea-is-it-sti-70169.html?ref=earth
Synthesis Report on the Economics of Adaptation to Climate Change Study
http://siteresources.worldbank.org/EXTCC/Resources/EACC_FinalSynthesisReport0803_2010.pdf
UN Decade for Deserts and the Fight Against Desertification Website
http://unddd.unccd.int
UN Secretary-General's High-level Panel on Global Sustainability
http://www.un.org/wcm/content/site/climatechange/pages/gsp
Country experiences of assessing health implications of climate change
http://climatehealth.wordpress.com/2010/08/04/country-experiences-on-assessing-health-implications-of-climate-change/
UNFCCC Executive Secretary: Governments make progress towards deciding shape of result at UN Climate Change Conference in Mexico, but need to narrow down number of negotiating options
http://unfccc.int/files/press/news_room/press_releases_and_advisories/application/pdf/pr_20100608_closing_awg_aug.pdf
Climate Change Dominates Pacific Island Forum Meeting
http://climate-l.org/2010/08/04/climate-change-dominates-pacific-island-forum-meeting/?referrer=climate-l.org-daily-feed

Amendments Adding Nine Chemicals to the Stockholm Convention Entered into Force
Amendments to the Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants (POPs) adding nine chemicals to Annexes A, B and/or C of the Convention entered into force on August 26, 2010 for the 152 of the 170 Parties to the Stockholm Convention that have not submitted a notification or a declaration. The amendments cover the following chemicals: alpha hexachlorocyclohexane; beta hexachlorocyclohexane; chlordecone; hexabromobiphenyl; hexabromodiphenyl ether and heptabromodiphenyl ether (commercial octabromodiphenyl ether); lindane; pentachlorobenzene; perfluorooctane sulfonic acid, its salts, and perfluorooactane sulfonyl fluoride; and tetrabromodiphenyl ether and pentabromodiphenyl ether (commercial pentabromodiphenyl ether). [Related item: Stockholm Convention Updated with Nine New Chemicals in May 2009 environmental security reports]
Sources:
Entry into Force of the Amendments adding Nine Chemicals to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants on 26 August 2010
http://chm.pops.int/default.aspx
Amendments to global treaty launched to eliminate nine toxic chemicals
http://www.pic.int/Press/Press_release_POPs_Amendment_EIF_2010.08.26_final.doc

Germany publishes criteria for substances of very high concern
The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) has published the criteria for selecting substances of very high concern (SVHC). BfR proposes the chemicals for Germany’s REACH (EU Regulation, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction on Chemicals) candidate list. [Related items: EU Updates the REACH System, and WEEE and RoHS Directives in December 2008 and other chemicals-related items in previous environmental security reports.]
Sources:
German risk institute publishes SVHC criteria
http://chemicalwatch.com/4742
BfR criteria for the selection of candidate substances for the authorisation procedure under REACH
http://www.bfr.bund.de/cm/290/bfr_criteria_for_the_selection_of_candidate_substances_for_the_authorisation_procedure_under_reach.pdf

China to Build Support Base for Seabed Exploration
China has announced that it will build a $73 million support base at Qingdao, on the Shandong Peninsula, between Beijing and Shanghai, for its deep-diving submersible research vessel "Jiaolong", designed to dive as deep as 7,000 meters. This emphasizes the increasing role that the seabed will play in the worldwide rivalry for new resources. [Related item: China Applies for Seabed Mining Permit in Search for New Mineral Resources in the July 2010 environmental security report.]
Source:
China builds base to tap deep-sea energy: state media
http://www.physorg.com/news202104598.html

CEC’s Five-year Strategic Plan Increases North-American Environmental Integration
The annual meeting of the Council of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), and consultation with the Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC) and the public, held in Guanajuato, presented the CEC’s proposed Strategic Plan for 2010–2015. The strategy refocuses the CEC towards a results-centered collaboration between Canada, Mexico and the U.S. on three environmental priorities: 1) healthy communities and ecosystems (which includes management of chemicals of concern); 2) climate change – low-carbon economy (focusing on improving the comparability of data on greenhouse gas emissions, as well as sharing climate change information and adaptation strategies among the three countries); and 3) greening the economy in North America (that includes e-wastes movement within North America and beyond.) The Council also decided to the establish the North American Partnership for Environmental Community Action (NAPECA) as a 5-year grant program supporting partnership-building to improve environmental conditions at the community, local and regional levels. [Related item:Canada, Mexico, and the USA Met to Strengthen Regional Environmental Regulations in June 2009 environmental security report.]
In the meantime, Health Canada published the Report on Human Biomonitoring of Environmental Chemicals in Canada, an assessment of the levels of 91 chemicals in Canadians. The report presents the results of Cycle 1 of the Canadian Health Measures Survey—a monitoring and research effort assessing chemical exposure. Cycle 2 (2009-2011) is currently being implemented, and planning already began for Cycle 3 (2012-2014). On another related issue, beginning in 2011, the USEPA will require operators of large carbon-emitting operations to submit annual emissions reports for GHGs. General standards are needed for data gathering and monitoring at federal as well as continental level to fulfill CEC’s program.
Sources:
CEC Ministerial Statement. Seventeenth Regular Session of the CEC Council
http://www.cec.org/Page.asp?PageID=122&ContentID=2968
Government of Canada Releases Biomonitoring Data from the Canadian Health Measures Survey
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ahc-asc/media/nr-cp/_2010/2010_139-eng.php
Monitoring Greenhouse Gases
http://pubs.acs.org/cen/coverstory/88/8832cover.html

World’s Humid Tropical Forests to Suffer Considerable Biodiversity Change by 2100
A study by Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology reveals that the ecosystems of humid tropical forests will suffer profound changes due to combined effects of climate change and land use. Globally, only 18% to 45% of those forests’ biodiversity might remain unchanged by the end of the century. The study identifies by region and ecosystem the combination, as well as the preponderant effect, of the different factors, thereby helping conservationists focus their efforts more efficiently. [Related items: International Body to Monitor Biodiversity Destruction in June 2010 and other items on similar issues in previous environmental security reports.]
Source:
Global Tropical Forests Threatened by 2100
http://carnegiescience.edu/news/global_tropical_forests_threatened_2100

Latin American Initiatives for Environmental Security
UNDP and Ecuador have signed an agreement establishing a trust fund to partially compensate the nation for not exploiting an estimated 846 million barrels of crude oil lying under the Yasuní National Park, designated a World Biosphere Reserve in 1989. Costa Rica is also promoting several programs for sustainable energy generation and reforestation aiming to achieve “carbon neutrality” by 2021. Brazil and the U.S. arranged a debt for stewardship arrangement whereby $21 million in debt will be forgiven in exchange for Brazil protecting non-Amazonian tropical forests. A summary of the consultations across the region are presented in the UNDP LAC Regional Biodiversity Initiative Bulletin, Vol. 1 No. 7, of August 27, 2010. [Related item: UN and Governments of Latin America and the Caribbean Met to Improve Disaster Anticipation and Response System in September 2008, and EU, Latin American and Caribbean Countries Environment Cooperation in March 2008 environmental security reports.]
Sources:
UNDP, Ecuador sign deal to protect Amazon from oil drill
http://content.undp.org/go/newsroom/2010/july/PNUDyEcuadorsuscribenacuerdoparalainiciativaYasuni.en
Working Towards Carbon Neutrality
http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=52407
US converts Brazilian debt into environmental protection
http://news.malaysia.msn.com/business/article.aspx?cp-documentid=4269914
UNDP LAC Regional Biodiversity Initiative Bulletin
http://www.iisd.ca/larc/pdf/larc0107e.pdf

Possible Conflicts over National/Regional Geoengineering Projects
A study published in Nature Geoscience warns that conflicts are possible between those who do and those do not implement “cheap” geoengineering projects. The most likely to be at tried are solar radiation management projects using aerosols inserted into the stratosphere to increase solar heat reflection, since the effects of such efforts cannot be entirely foreseen even for the areas directly targeted, let alone neighboring ones. Similar warnings were issued by a Science and Technology Committee earlier this year, and by the Met Office. Additionally, an international team of scientists reports that, unless involving extreme measures, geoengineering approaches would have little efficiency in curbing sea levels rising. The findings, assessing five geoengineering approaches were summarized in the paper Efficacy of geoengineering to limit 21st century sea-level rise, published by the NAS. [Related item: Geoengineering May Require International Environmental Regulations in January 2010 environmental security reports.]
Sources:
Regional climate response to solar-radiation management
http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v3/n8/full/ngeo915.html
'Cheap' solar geoengineering plans may have unintended consequences
http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_round_up/562566/cheap_solar_geoengineering_plans_may_have_unintended_consequences.html
Efficacy of geoengineering to limit 21st century sea-level rise
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/08/20/1008153107
Geoengineering won't curb sea-level rise
http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100823/full/news.2010.426.html#B1

New Forms of Air Conditioning Assuming Larger Role
Restrictions on appliance energy requirements and energy usage are forcing a trend away from the conventional refrigeration-based units and toward other means, such as radiant cooling and evaporative coolers. [Related item: Only Very Low-Energy Buildings to Be Built in EU after 2020 in May 2010, and Increasing Energy Efficiency in July-August 2008 reports.]
Source:
Seeking to Cool Air Conditioning Costs
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/08/100812-energy-evaporative-air-conditioner/
Air conditioning: Cold comfort
http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/air-conditioning-cold-comfort-2041647.html

Nanotechnology Safety Issues

Toxicity of Silver Nanoparticles Increases During Storage
A new report, co-authored by Prof. Matthias Epple, of the University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany, shows that the toxicity of silver nanoparticles increases during storage because of their slow dissolution and the consequent release of silver ions. Further quantitative details of the process, e.g. behavior when a containing material is washed, still remain to be investigated.
Sources:
Toxicity of Silver Nanoparticles Increases during Storage Because of Slow Dissolution under Release of Silver Ions
http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/cm100023p
Toxicity of silver nanoparticles increases during storage
http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=17687.php

Some Types of Nanotubes Produce Harmful Oxygen in Sunlit Water
A study by Chia-Ying Chen and Chad T. Jafvert of the Purdue University School of Civil Engineering, West Lafayette IN, has shown that single-walled carboxylated nanotubes dispersed in water and exposed to sunlight produce a variety of cell-damaging reactive oxygen species (ROS). This generation had been known in the presence of laser light, but not for natural illumination.
Sources:
Photoreactivity of Carboxylated Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes in Sunlight: Reactive Oxygen Species Production in Water
http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es101073p (Abstract; full text by subscription)
Shining A Light On Nanotoxicity
http://pubs.acs.org/cen/news/88/i33/8833news5.html

Pakistan Establishes National Nanotech Commission; Environment a Focus
The government of Pakistan has established a National Commission on Nano-Science and Technology (NCNST) with a mandate to help universities and research centers set up nanotech laboratories. Dr. Aftab Ahmed, President of the National Academy of Young Scientists, pointed out that one of the most important applications of nanotechnology is the environment, where nanoparticles significantly increase the efficiency of groundwater pollutants filtration.
Source:
Pakistan is striving to grow in Nano technology field
http://regionaltimes.com/06aug2010/moneynews/pakistan.htm

ISO Publishes Methodology for Nanomaterials Classification
The International Organization for Standardization has published a technical report, ISO/TR 11360:2010, Nanotechnologies – Methodology for the classification and categorization of nanomaterials, which offers a comprehensive, globally harmonized methodology for classifying nanomaterials. According to Nanowerk News, it "introduces a system called the 'nano-tree', which places nanotechnology concepts into a logical context by indicating relationships among them as a branching out tree. The most basic and common elements are defined as the main trunk of the tree, and nanomaterials are then differentiated in terms of structure, chemical nature and other properties."
Source:
New ISO methodology demystifies nanomaterials
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=17691.php

EPA Calls for Comments on Case Study: Nanoscale Silver in Disinfectant Spray
EPA has announced a 45-day public comment period for the draft document Nanomaterial Case Study: Nanoscale Silver in Disinfectant Spray. The draft is intended to serve as part of a process to help identify and prioritize scientific and technical information that could be used in conducting comprehensive environmental assessments of selected nanomaterials. It does not attempt to draw conclusions regarding potential environmental risks of nanoscale silver; rather, it aims to identify what is known and unknown about nanoscale silver to support future assessment efforts.
Sources:
EPA releases draft document of silver nanomaterial case study
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=17642.php
Nanomaterial Case Study: Nanoscale Silver in Disinfectant Spray (Federal Register Notice)
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2010-08-13/html/2010-20083.htm

Nanotechnology Law, 2010 Edition Published
Nanotechnology Law, 2010 ed., by John C. Monica, “provides a comprehensive treatment of the law related to nanotechnology, with an emphasis on the environment, health, and safety.”
Source:
Nanotechnology Law, 2010 ed., by John C. Monica
http://west.thomson.com/productdetail/160712/40630354/productdetail.aspx

Encyclopedia of Nanoscience and Society
This two-volume work, intended for the general public, provides comprehensive coverage of nanoscience and society issues via some 425 signed entries (with cross-references and suggestions for further readings) that examine the implications of emerging nanotechnologies. A thematic “Reader’s Guide” in the front matter groups related entries by broad, general topic areas, such as ethical issues; social issues; environmental issues, etc.. It includes a Chronology, Resource Guide, and Glossary, as well as a detailed index and an online version.
Source:
Encyclopedia of Nanoscience and Society
http://www.sagepub.com/booksProdDesc.nav?prodId=Book233289&#tabview=features

Australia publishes two reports on nanotechnology-related safety:
According to Nanowerk News, the focus of the report Engineered Nanomaterials: Feasibility of establishing exposure standards and using control banding* in Australia “is to investigate the feasibility of:
– establishing group-based Australian National Exposure Standards for engineered nanomaterials
– using control banding for engineered nanomaterials in Australia.”
[*“Control banding” is a workplace risk assessment technique]
Its discussion begins with a detailed analysis of a similar study done earlier by the British Standards Institution.
Engineered Nanomaterials: Investigating substitution and modification options to reduce potential hazards provides a review of the current state in Australia of nanotech risk assessment and mitigation. The 81-page report presents the results of a “survey of the current substitution/modification practices used in Australian nanotechnology-related activities and a literature review in order to determine the potential substitution/modification options that may reduce the toxicity of engineered nanomaterials used in Australia,” says Nanowerk. The study was commissioned by Safe Work Australia and conducted by RMIT University, Melbourne.
Sources:
Engineered Nanomaterials: Feasibility of establishing exposure standards and using control banding in Australia
http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/NR/rdonlyres/CFEFDBA0-2BD5-4110-A49F-04A4C9032C18/0/Engineered_Nanomaterials_feasibility_establishing_exposure_standards_August_2010.pdf
New Safe Work Australia report investigates feasibility of exposure standards for nanomaterials
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=17524.php
Engineered Nanomaterials: Investigating substitution and modification options to reduce potential hazards
http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/NR/rdonlyres/A47FBE60-DC28-44A1-A601-653B6EBD3890/0/Investigating_substitution_modification_options_reduce_potential_hazards.pdf
Safe Work Australia publishes reports on methods to reduce the risk of exposure to nanomaterials
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=17525.php

Mouse Model Shows Reversible Reproductive Damage from Nanotubes
Bing Yan, Director of the High-Throughput Analytical Chemistry Facility at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis TN, and colleagues conducted a nanotoxicology study on the impact of carbon nanotubes on male reproductive health in a mouse model. Although the ill effects found were reversible and did not affect the hormonal levels, sperm health, or male mice fertility, the authors emphasize that further studies are urgently needed.
Source:
No nanotube fertility risk
http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/News/2010/August/08081002.asp

Buckyball Discovery Conference to Review Past, Present, and Future of Nanotech
Rice Univ. in Houston, Texas will hold the Buckyball Discovery Conference 10-13 October 2010 in honor of the 25th anniversary of the Nobel Prize-winning discovery of the carbon-60 molecule, the buckminsterfullerene, at Rice. Presentations by leading experts will address all aspects of nanotech development and application, including environmental health and safety.
Source:
Nano's brightest coming to Rice
http://www.media.rice.edu/media/NewsBot.asp?MODE=VIEW&ID=14553

Reports and Information Suggested for Review

NRC Committee Recommends Sequence-based Tracking of Possible Pathogens
The Sequence-Based Classification of Select Agents: A Brighter Line report by the National Research Council (NRC) recommends moving to a DNA-sequence-based classification system for the regulation of dangerous pathogens. “The US regulates a list of 82 pathogens and toxins … deemed to pose a biosecurity threat, …[b]ut currently, nothing identifies them beyond taxonomic labels, such as Bacillus anthracis for anthrax.… The report also describes a ‘yellow flag’ biosafety system that would address sequences of concern — snippets of DNA that are not in themselves select agents, but could be part of one or otherwise used to produce a bioweapon,” writes Nature News.
Sources:
Sequence-Based Classification of Select Agents: A Brighter Line
http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12970
US report pins down future biosecurity. Committee recommends a sequence-based system for identifying pathogens
http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100803/full/466678a.html

Reports Assessing Several Nations’ S&T Advances
S&T Strategies of Six Countries: Implications for the United States outlines the S&T infrastructure of Japan, Brazil, Russia, India, China, and Singapore with details of each nation’s priorities, weaknesses and areas of expertise, with predictions for each nation’s medium term (3- to 5-year) implementation success, including economic and military outcomes. The study finds that the transinstitutional globalization of ST&I networks in conjunction with S&T’s centrality to JBRICS economic-security agendas creates a unique challenge to U.S. competitive advantage in information, intelligence and economics. The report recommends the U.S. create better models for international monitoring of S&T while simultaneously creating the alliances, policies and culture that will stimulate U.S. education and investment in innovation and still protect national assets. The report notes that while certain standard indicators of S&T accurately measure some elements of S&T advancement across nations, new country-specific indicators are needed that more succinctly measure nuances of individual country environments.
Ranking the Nations on Nanotech: Hidden Havens and False Threats, a report by Lux Research, assesses 19 nations and ranks them according to the potential of their nanotechnology capabilities using conventional indicators. The authors state that in 2009 some nations significantly increased their spending and commitment to nanotech, while others have surpassed the U.S. in nanotechnology commercialization.
Sources:
S&T Strategies of Six Countries: Implications for the United States
http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12920
U.S. Risks Losing Global Leadership in Nanotech
http://www.kurzweilai.net/u-s-risks-losing-global-leadership-in-nanotech

Project on National Security Reform (PNSR) Vision Working Group Report
The “Project on National Security Reform Vision Working Group” is a 3-year study with over 300 national security experts. It assesses the U.S. national security system, recommending a comprehensive reform agenda to prepare the system to meet the challenges of the 21st century. A central recommendation was to introduce foresight into the Executive Branch and into the National Security System via the establishment of a Center for Strategic Analysis and Assessment within the Executive Office of the President.
Sources:
Project on National Security Reform http://www.pnsr.org/index.asp
Vision working group Report and Scenarios http://pnsr.org/data/files/project_on_national_security_reform_vwg.pdf

Back to Top


July 2010

China is Now the Largest Energy Consumer in the World
The International Energy Agency has announced that China’s energy consumption is now the highest in the world; its energy consumption has doubled since 2000. IEA notes that China’s per capita consumption is one-third of the OECD countries’ average, and credits China’s government for its efforts in reducing energy intensity and becoming a global leader in renewable energy technologies. Meantime, the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency report No growth in total global CO2 emissions in 2009 notes that OECD countries reduced their greenhouse gas emission by 7% during 2009. This reduction has been offset by increases from China and India. CO2 emissions per capita in China increased from 2.2 tons in 1990, to 6.1 tons in 2009, while, in the same time period, the 15 EU nations decreased from 9.1 tons to 7.9 tons and the U.S. decreased from 19.5 tons to 17.2 tons. Considering the rising Chinese public discontent over pollution and an estimated $25 trillion cost to clean up environmental damage associated with the country’s rapid industrialization, China’s government is increasingly concerned by the interdependence between economic and security issues. Therefore, in its 2011-2015 state plan, 39% of the performance indicators for government officials focus on “green” issues, up from 3% in the previous plan.
Sources:
China overtakes the United States to become world’s largest energy consumer
http://www.iea.org/index_info.asp?id=1479
Global carbon emissions steady for first time since 1992
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jul/01/emissions-recession
No growth in total global CO2 emissions in 2009
http://www.pbl.nl/en/publications/2010/No-growth-in-total-global-CO2-emissions-in-2009.html
Climate change biggest restriction on China's development –economist
http://www.alertnet.org/db/an_art/60714/2010/06/9-162342-1.htm

China Applies for Seabed Mining Permit in Search for New Mineral Resources
China has filed the first application with the International Seabed Authority for deep seabed mining in international waters to search for valuable metals such as copper, nickel, cobalt, gold and silver. This application for mining of sulfides in the southwest Indian Ocean at depths of more than 5,000 feet below the surface is expected to be heard April 2011. If successful, many more applications are expected to follow from China and other countries. Environmental experts are already expressing concerns about the potentially major consequences that deep-sea mining could have on the marine ecosystem. [Related item: The Race for Natural Resources a Potential Impediment for Peace in June 2010 environmental security report.] [New estimates show large resources may be possible in Afghanistan.]
Apart from these relatively common metals, the world could experience shortages of rare earth minerals needed for renewable energy and information technologies as soon as 2012. China produced more than 97% of the world’s rare earth oxides in 2009, and controls about 50% of the globe’s known reserves. Recently it announced a 72% cut in its exports of rare earths for the second half of 2010. In order to decreasing its dependence on foreign minerals, the U.S. is considering reviving the domestic rare earths mining industry, most probably beginning with the Mountain Pass CA mine that plans to increase mining and processing to 20,000 tons of rare earths by 2012, from the current 2,000 tons a year.
Sources:
Rush On for ‘Rare Earths’ as U.S. Firms Seek to Counter Chinese Monopoly
http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2010/07/23/23greenwire-rush-on-for-rare-earths-as-us-firms-seek-to-co-58814.html
Deep-sea mining adds to fears of marine pollution
http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/deepsea-mining-adds-to-fears-of-marine-pollution-2016292.html

EU Parliament Adopts Restrictions on Nanoproducts
The European Parliament reached agreement that “nano-sized ingredients and food from nanotech processes should be subject to novel foods regulations,” and called for a moratorium until specifically-designed risk assessments verify their safety. The action was welcomed by the European Environmental Bureau, Europe’s largest federation of environmental citizens’ organizations. [Related item: EU Restrictions on Nanofoods Expected to Pass in July, in June 2010 environmental security report.]
Sources:
MEPs call for ban on food from cloned animals
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/expert/infopress_page/067-77912-186-07-28-911-20100706IPR77911-05-07-2010-2010-false/default_en.htm
European Environmental Bureau welcomes European Parliament's vote on nanofoods
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=17069.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nanowerk%2FagWB+%28Nanowerk+Nanotechnology+News%29

The Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment to the UNECE Espoo Convention Entered into Force on July 11, 2010
The Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment to the UNECE Espoo Convention sets the legal framework for better integration of environmental and health assessments, as well as public participation in decisionmaking at the earliest stage of projects and programs. It ensures that environmental protection and health concerns are an integral part of sustainable development. The SEA Protocol entered into force on July 11, 2010. [Related item: Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) in May 2003 environmental security report]
Source:
Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment (Kyiv, 2003)
http://www.unece.org/env/eia/sea_protocol.htm

UN Official Calls to “Securitize the Ground” as part of Human Security
At the Third Annual Caux Forum for Human Security, held July 9-16, 2010, in Caux, Switzerland, Luc Gnacadja, the Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), underlining the links between climate change and conflict, called for a “decisive policy change in the way we perceive the drylands and address the issues of its people in order to avoid environmentally induced conflicts.” To this end, he suggested the “securitize the ground” concept, in order to create a wider global political awareness of the social, environmental, and economic consequences of desertification, land degradation, and drought. Securitizing the ground is defined in the reference.
Source:
The Third Annual Caux Forum for Human Security. 9-16 July 2010, Caux Switzerland
Grounding security (Soil security a prerequisite for human security). Luc Gnacadja speech
http://www.unccd.int/publicinfo/docs/lghumansecurity.pdf

Ecuador to Join the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea
President Rafael Correa of Ecuador announced the accession to the UN Law of the Sea, pending endorsement by the National Assembly. Ecuador is one of the 16 countries that neither signed nor ratified the Law of the Sea Convention, although it claimed a 200 nautical mile sovereignty zone even before the concept of the Exclusive Economic Zone was created by the Convention. By joining the UNCLOS, Ecuador’s claim to the 200-mile zone and the air space above will become official, and also opens the opportunity for eventual claims of extension.
Source:
Ecuador anuncia adhesión a la Convemar
http://andes.info.ec/politica/ecuador-anuncia-adhesion-a-la-convemar-23938.html (Spanish language)

Coal-fired Power Plants under Fire
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is contemplating introducing rules to reduce environmental effects of coal-fired power plants as part of its steps on regulating greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, a new rule for reducing the emissions of mercury from coal-fired power plants is to be issued November 2011 with enforcement three years later. It is estimated that this will force about 20% of U.S. coal-fired electric generation capacity to retire by 2015. Similarly, in Australia, the Greens are advocating 100% replacement of coal with renewable energy sources such as sun, wind, and wave.
Sources:
Analysis: Toxic Fish Could Help Obama Hit 2020 Climate Goals
http://planetark.org/wen/58929
Senator Milne said this could be achieved by 2030 with the right preparation and infrastructure. Greens say coal must go
http://www.smh.com.au/federal-election/climate/greens-say-coal-must-go-20100724-10pmh.html

Technological Advances with Environmental Security Implications

New Optical Link Facilitates Exploration of the Underwater Environment
Engineers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution have developed an optical modem system which allows data and command communication with an autonomous undersea research vehicle without the need for tethering with bulky cables. The system demonstrated error-free transmissions at 1 megabit per second at a range of more than 100 meters.
Source:
Revolutionary Communications System Promises New Generation of Untethered, Undersea Vehicles
http://www.physorg.com/news197133272.html

New Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs) Give Greatly Improved CO2 Storage
Researchers from UCLA and Seoul’s Soongsil University report development of several new MOF materials with greatly improved capability for CO2 capture and storage.
Sources:
World records by UCLA chemists, Korean colleagues enhance ability to capture CO2
http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/world-records-by-ucla-chemists-163439.aspx
Ultra-High Porosity in Metal-Organic Frameworks
http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/science.1192160v1

New Detection and Cleanup Techniques
Graphene-based Composite Removes Arsenic from Drinking Water
Researchers at Pohang University of Science and Technology in Pohang, Republic of Korea, claim creation of a new magnetite composite, based on reduced graphene oxide (RGO), which absorbs arsenic when dispersed in water, and can then be removed with a magnet. Compared to present methods, the highly efficient new material can be used in continuous-flow systems for longer periods.
Sources:
Graphene soaks up arsenic
http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/43162
Water-Dispersible Magnetite-Reduced Graphene Oxide Composites for Arsenic Removal
http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/nn1008897

New Catalyst Enables Water Decontamination by Visible Light
Scientists at the Shenyang National Laboratory for Materials Science in Shenyang, China, have announced a catalytic water purification technique using visible light rather than UV. The catalyst is made from a grid of titanium oxide fibers impregnated with nitrogen, augmented with palladium nanoparticles. The bactericidal action continues for up to 24 hours after light is removed. Professor Shang has stated that this new technique is both more energy-efficient and more effective than previous UV photocatalysts and will also kill some of the toughest microbes such as spores.
Sources:
Nanoparticles and light can purify water
http://www.scidev.net/en/news/nanoparticles-and-light-can-purify-water.html
Memory antibacterial effect from photoelectron transfer between nanoparticles and visible light photocatalyst
http://www.rsc.org/publishing/journals/JM/article.asp?doi=b917239d

Adding Flocculation Agents to Runoff Filter Socks Improves Performance
Scientists from the Agricultural Research Service’s Animal and Natural Resources Institute in Beltsville MD, and researchers from Filtrexx International, say they improved on the performance of filter socks used to partially remove contaminants from storm water runoff from construction sites and other disturbed earth sites. Adding flocculation agents to the compost inside the socks improved reduction percentages of contaminants by up to one-third, including reducing E. coli and motor oil by 99%.
Source:
'Super socks' help stem pollution runoff
http://www.physorg.com/news199099635.html

Increasing Energy Efficiency Technologies
Adding Graphene to Lithium-Ion Batteries Dramatically Reduces Recharge Time
DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Vorbeck Materials Corp. of Jessup MD, and Professor Ilhan Aksay of Princeton University collaborated in developing a new technology incorporating graphene into lithium-ion batteries, thereby reducing their recharge times by factors from 10 to 30.
Source:
Battery research could lead to shorter recharge time for cell phones
http://www.physorg.com/news198309365.html

New Solar-Powered Process Converts Atmospheric CO2 to Solid Carbon
Professor Stuart Licht of the Department of Chemistry and Solar Institute at George Washington University and collaborators report the STEP (Solar Thermal Electrochemical Photo) process, which uses solar radiation both to heat a molten lithium carbonate electrolyte that splits the CO2 into free oxygen and solid carbon that is formed at the cathode, and to provide energy for the electrolysis.
Sources:
New solar-powered process removes CO2 from the air and stores it as solid carbon
http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=17198.php
A New Solar Carbon Capture Process: Solar Thermal Electrochemical Photo (STEP) Carbon Capture
http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jz100829s

Updates on Previously Identified Issues

Updates of the Rome Statute Include Amendments on the Crime of Aggression and Expansion of Criminalizing the Use of Certain Weapons in Non-international Conflicts
The first Review Conference on the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) took place in Kampala, Uganda, May 31‑June 11, 2010. The Conference reached agreement on the definition of the crime of aggression and the framework for the Court’s jurisdiction over this type of crime. In principle, a crime of aggression is committed by a leader who plans or executes an “act of aggression” that constitutes “by its character, gravity and scale” a “manifest violation of the Charter of the United Nations,” while an “act of aggression” is the use of armed force in a manner inconsistent with the U.N. Charter, including any of the acts stipulated in UN General Assembly Resolution 3314, which are listed in new Article 8 bis. The activation of the Court’s jurisdiction is pending agreement of two–thirds of States Parties, which cannot be taken before January 1, 2017 and one year after the ratification or acceptance of the amendments by 30 states parties, whichever is later.
The criminalization of the use of certain weapons in non-international conflicts is added under Article 8, paragraph 2, e) and includes: poison, poisoned weapons, asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases and all analogous liquids, materials or devices, as well as the use of bullets that expand or flatten in the body. The amendment will enter into force for each State Party one year after depositing the instruments of ratification or acceptance of the amendment. [Related item: Changes to War Crimes Proposed for the International Criminal Court in November 2009 environmental security report.]
The Conference also adopted the Kampala Declaration, reaffirming states’ commitment to the Rome Statute and its full implementation, as well as its universality and integrity.
Sources:
Review Conference of the Rome Statute
http://www.coalitionfortheicc.org/?mod=review
States Parties Approve New Crimes for International Criminal Court. ASIL Volume 14, Issue 16
http://www.asil.org/files/insight100622pdf.pdf

Progress on International Environmental Governance
The First Meeting of the Consultative Group of Ministers or High-Level Representatives on Broader International Environmental Governance Reform was held from July 7-9, 2010 in Nairobi, Kenya. The Consultative Group is formed of delegates from 59 countries. Using the original 24 points proposed by UNEP, the group identified nine options for further consideration. While there is general agreement that there are gaps in the current environmental governance system, views differ about potential solutions. Some countries favor creating a global policy organization with universal membership to manage the global environmental agenda, while others advocate a new specialized UN agency on the environment, or argue for an umbrella organization on sustainability. However, there is general support for other broad reforms, such as an encompassing global information network, establishing a tracking system on environmental finance, and enhancing UNEP presence within existing country offices. The Group agreed to a roadmap for its work through the 2011 Governing Council. The second meeting is tentatively scheduled for late November 2010 in Helsinki, Finland. [Related item: UNEP Conference Furthers Environmental Governance in February 2009 environmental security report.]
Sources:
First Meeting of the Consultative Group, Nairobi 7-9 July 2010
http://www.unep.org/environmentalgovernance/Introduction/GCfeb2010/tabid/4556/language/en-US/Default.aspx
The Co-Chairs' Summary and Roadmap
http://www.unep.org/environmentalgovernance/Introduction/GCfeb2010/tabid/4556/language/en-US/Default.aspx

High cancer rates in Fallujah, Iraq; New Study Raises Questions on Environmental Damage from Bombardments
A paper by visiting professor Dr Chris Busby at the University of Ulster and colleagues reports a four-fold increase in all cancers and a 12-fold increase in childhood cancer in under-14s from a survey in Fallujah, Iraq which was heavily bombarded in 2004. The study showed that infant mortality in the city is more than four times higher than in Jordan and eight times higher than in Kuwait. There is a 38-fold increase in leukemia, and a ten-fold increase in female breast cancer. The changes cannot be ascribed to any specific cause, but the authors raise the possibility of uranium-tainted weapons being involved. [Related item: New Legal Proceeding over Allegations of Use of Illegal Weapons in Iraq in May 2010 environmental security report.]
Sources:
Toxic legacy of US assault on Fallujah 'worse than Hiroshima'
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/toxic-legacy-of-us-assault-on-fallujah-worse-than-hiroshima-2034065.html
Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth Sex-Ratio in Fallujah, Iraq 2005–2009
http://www.scribd.com/doc/34158205/Cancer-Infant-Mortality-and-Birth-Sex-Ratio-in-Fallujah-Iraq-2005–2009

Artillery Training Charges Pose Environmental Asbestos Threat
The Australian Department of Defence has launched an investigation into the possible exposure of troops to white chrysotile asbestos from a broken dummy charge bag used in a kit for 105mm howitzer training, imported from the U.S.
Source:
Artillery drills spark asbestos fears
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/06/29/2939489.htm?section=justin

“Public Interest” Environmental Suits Increasing
Reportedly, in the past twenty years, tens of thousands of public interest lawsuits have been filed against the Indian government and corporations on grounds, among others, that large development projects threaten livelihoods, land, or the environment. These suits have led to landmark rulings on education, the environment, and human rights (PILs can relate to any public issue, not just the environment), but their volume has burdened the judicial system. Therefore, in an effort to reduce the caseload, the Indian government has introduced new directives, requiring higher standards of proof and sanctioning the petitioner if a project was delayed by a public interest litigation that is later dismissed. Note: similar public interest legal provisions as those in India are also included in jurisprudence in South Africa, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh. [Related item: Environmental Courts and Tribunals Are Rapidly Increasing Around the World in April 2010 environmental security report, as well as above item on European SEA in this report.]
Source:
Activists in India cry foul over new rules regarding public interest litigation
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/25/AR2010072502773.html

Study Indicts Swimming Pool Disinfectants for Toxic Effects from Byproducts
According to Science Daily, research by Professor Michael Plewa of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and colleagues has linked the application of disinfectants in recreational pools to previously published adverse health outcomes such as asthma, bladder cancer, and DNA damage: “negative outcomes can occur when disinfection byproducts form reactions with organic matter [e.g., sweat, hair, sunscreen] in pool water”. The scientists recommend that disinfectants containing bromine be avoided.
Source:
Recreational Pool Disinfectants Linked to Health Problems
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100721133213.htm
Genotoxicity of Water Concentrates from Recreational Pools after Various Disinfection Methods
http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es903593w

Climate Change
Scientific Evidence and Natural Disasters
Mass bleaching of coral reefs has been reported throughout Southeast Asia, the Indian Ocean, and the Pacific. The damage so far has been the worst since 1997/1998 when high ocean temperatures killed an estimated 16% of the world’s reefs, but with ocean temperatures reaching record levels and combined with the end of an El Niño episode, scientists warn that even more damage could come. While reefs can often recover from bleaching, it could take corals between 10 and 70 years to recover from bleaching events of such magnitude. Also, a recent study showed that rising temperatures slow the speed of coral growth. In the Red Sea, coral growth declined by a third over the past 12 years, and scientists warned that coral there would cease growing entirely by 2070 if warming continues.
Meantime, worldwide phytoplankton levels decreased 40% since the 1950s, reveal Canadian and U.S. scientists in a study published in the journal Nature. They say that the likely cause is global warming, which increases difficulty for plant plankton to get vital nutrients. The most dramatic changes are noted in the Arctic, southern, and equatorial Atlantic and equatorial Pacific oceans, while the Indian Ocean is not showing a decline.

Food and Water Security
Water Issues between Nepal, India, and Bangladesh, a paper by the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, notes that the largely agrarian characteristics of the countries in the region and their volatile relations make the region highly prone to water related crises. The paper concludes that water issues are essentially a product of the political relations in the region and points to the benefits of developing joint water management schemes, such as information sharing mechanisms, disaster preparation, and maintenance of a specific quality of water, which, in addition to resolving water issues, would also enhance regional stability. Meantime, tensions between India and Pakistan are growing, with Pakistan filing a case with the international arbitration court to stop the construction of a hydroelectric dam in India in May.
The UN calls upon the international community to help the more than 10 million hungry people across Africa’s drought-stricken Sahel region. The hardest hit is Niger, where more than 7 million people — almost 50% of the population — is suffering from lack of food.

Migration
Advocating for Safe Movement as a Climate Change Adaptation Strategy for Pastoralists in the Horn and East Africa, a new report by the Security Mobility Initiative, finds increasing levels of migration and conflict over often scarce resources. According to the report, vulnerability, a lack of preparedness, and appropriate, timely and relevant responses to natural disasters left millions in need of humanitarian assistance. The report recommends urgent actions to help pastoralists cope with the growing impacts of climate change, for example, to facilitate safe passage across borders in the Horn and East Africa region. In June, the European Commission adopted a €20 million humanitarian financial package to support 12 million people affected by drought in the Greater Horn of Africa in developing resilience to drought and adapting to climate change.
The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) assesses the extent to which Northern Nigerian households migrate in response to weather-related variability and shocks. Its discussion paper, Migratory responses to agricultural risk in Northern Nigeria, finds that households use migration as a risk management strategy. The author underscores the importance of understanding how climate affects migration decisions in order to better target resources to cope with climate change.

Adaptation
The World Bank Institute has published a series of multimedia learning modules on Climate Adaptation for Water, Agriculture, and Natural Resource Management. The modules address issues including rehabilitating degraded watersheds; innovative cultivation strategies; legal aspects of water use; and public-private partnerships in irrigation management. The modules are available at: http://vle.worldbank.org/moodle/course/view.php?id=402

Computer Modeling and Scenarios
Forum for the Future (FF) with support from the British Department of International Development (DFID) has developed four scenarios exploring how climate change would transform low-income countries over the next 20 years. The study warns that unless strong and urgent action is taken, climate change would reverse years of work reducing poverty in the developing world. In addition, shortages of food and natural resources and climate change impacts could lead many nations to question the Western model of economic development and democracy. The study stresses that the impacts of climate change must be factored into development decisions to ensure they continue to yield benefits in the long-term.
The Chalmers Climate Calculator is a simple climate model for online use, developed by Chalmers University of Technology. The model shows potential impacts on global temperature rise under different CO2 emissions scenarios shaped by reductions’ timeframes and scales, climate sensitivity, and the net aerosol forcing in year 2005. The model also allows visualizing the different impacts of emission cuts by Annex I and Non-Annex I countries, as well as the role of deforestation. The global model is accessible at: www.chalmers.se/ee/ccc , while the model considering Annex I grouping and deforestation is available at www.chalmers.se/ee/ccc2 .
Similarly, an interactive climate map from Google shows potential future impacts of a 4ºC global temperature rise, illustrating rising water levels and reduced crop yields in different parts of the world. The map is continuously updated as new data become available. It is available at: http://www.fco.gov.uk/google-earth-4degrees.kml (requires Google Earth installed.)

Post-Copenhagen Negotiations
The World Investment Report 2010 by UNCTAD notes that current national and international policy frameworks do not target private sector and transnational corporation contributions sufficiently and effectively, and underlines the importance of integrating international investment policies into the negotiations and design of the new post-2012 regime. The report proposes a global partnership to synergize investment and climate change mitigation for promoting sustainable development. One of the components of the proposal is setting up an international low-carbon technical assistance center (L-TAC).
Environmental and economic effects of the Copenhagen pledges and more ambitious emission reduction targets, a report by Germany’s Federal Environment Agency (UBA), notes that the emission reduction targets of the world’s major CO2 emitters under the Copenhagen Accord are not yet sufficient to limit global warming to 2ºC. Meantime, it shows that economic costs in terms of reduced GDP compared to baseline GDP in 2020 are no higher than 0.25%, assuming that emission allowances are traded globally. For the EU, the impact on GDP between 30% CO2 reduction (instead of 20%) by 2020 compared to 1990 levels would be marginal.
Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts Over Decades to Millennia by the National Research Council today assesses the levels of CO2 reduction that would be necessary to stabilize climate at less than 2ºC average global warming. It notes that efforts are needed imminently for a rapid decline to less than 80% of current emissions by mid-century.
Sources:
Coral reefs suffer mass bleaching
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/7896403/Coral-reefs-suffer-mass-bleaching.html
Plankton, base of ocean food web, in big decline
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100728/ap_on_sc/us_sci_declining_plankton
Water Issues between Nepal, India & Bangladesh. IPCS paper
http://www.ipcs.org/pdf_file/issue/SR95.pdf
UN humanitarian chief: 10 million in Africa's drought-stricken Sahel hungry, need help
http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5jeg5Eoxjn-ivdeZ-vjPDaLa_RTNA
Security in Mobility Launch: Key Note Address: Mr. Mark Bowden, HC for Somalia
http://ochaonline.un.org/OchaLinkClick.aspx?link=ocha&docId=1165384
Greater Horn of Africa: EU Commission allocates € 20 million to support 12 million victims of recurrent droughts
http://europa-eu-un.org/articles/en/article_9879_en.htm
Migratory Responses to Agricultural Risk in Northern Nigeria. IFPRI Discussion Paper 01007
http://www.ifpri.org/sites/default/files/publications/ifpridp01007.pdf
World Investment Report 2010
http://www.unctad.org/Templates/WebFlyer.asp?intItemID=5535&lang=1
The Future Climate for Development
http://www.forumforthefuture.org/projects/the-future-climate-for-development
Low carbon, high hopes
http://blogs.dfid.gov.uk/2010/07/low-carbon-high-hopes/
World Investment Report 2010
http://www.unctad.org/Templates/WebFlyer.asp?intItemID=5535&lang=1
Environmental and economic effects of the Copenhagen pledges and more ambitious emission reduction targets
http://www.uba.de/uba-info-medien/3998.html
Study Warns that Decisions Made Today About Carbon Emissions Will Have Consequences "In the Coming Centuries and Millennia"
http://www.wwfblogs.org/climate/content/nrc-climatereport-16july2010

Nanotechnology Safety Issues

EC Publishes Report on Definition of Nanomaterials For Regulatory Purposes
Responding to a request of the European Parliament, the EC Joint Research Centre (JRC) published a reference report, Considerations on a definition of nanomaterial for regulatory purposes. According to Nanowerk News, "The report discusses possible elements of a definition aiming at reducing ambiguity and confusion for regulators, industry, and the general public. It recommends that the specific term 'particulate nanomaterial' should be employed in legislation to avoid inconsistencies with other definitions and that size should be used as the only defining property." Meantime, the European Commission has requested that the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) provide advice on the essential elements of a science-based working definition of “nanomaterials.” Part of this process is a public consultation on the preliminary version, in which stakeholders are invited to submit comments and proposals.
Sources:
Considerations on a definition of nanomaterial for regulatory purposes
http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/bitstream/111111111/14270/1/jrc-refreport-definition-nanomaterial-eur24403en.pdf
European Commission publishes reference report on definition of nanomaterials for regulatory purposes
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=17008.php
Document: Scientific Basis for the Definition of the Term “Nanomaterial
http://ec.europa.eu/health/scientific_committees/emerging/docs/scenihr_o_030.pdf
Public consultation on scientific basis for a definition of the term 'nanomaterial'
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=17175.php

Study Raises Doubts on PEN Nano Consumer Products Inventory (CPI)
A recent study, published in Nanotechnology Law & Business, of the Consumer Products Inventory (CPI) prepared by the Wilson Center/Pew Trusts' Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies came to the conclusion that the CPI has substantive deficiencies that call the validity of claims associated with the CPI into question. It also recommends a commitment of resources at the governmental level to produce and maintain a consumer product inventory.
Source:
Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies – Consumer Product Inventory Evaluated
Nanotechnology Law & Business (Volume 7, Issue 2)
http://www.nanolabweb.com/index.cfm/action/main.default.viewArticle/articleID/330/CFID/4996510/CFTOKEN/43195139/index.html (abstract; subscription or purchase required for full text)

GAO Tells EPA It Should Expand Nanomaterials Info and Regulatory Efforts
A new GAO report, Nanotechnology: Nanomaterials Are Widely Used in Commerce, but EPA Faces Challenges in Regulating Risk, says EPA should proceed with previously announced plans to increase the information the agency has on nanomaterials and expand its oversight of them. The EPA has said it agrees, and concurred with the GAO recommendations.
Sources:
Nanotechnology: Nanomaterials Are Widely Used in Commerce, but EPA Faces Challenges in Regulating Risk
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-10-549
EPA Should Expand Efforts to Get Data On, Regulate Nanomaterials, GAO Says in Report
http://www.merid.org/nanodev/more.php?articleID=2708

New EU NanoSustain Project Aims for Sustainable Solutions for Nanotechnology
The NanoSustain is a consortium comprising 12 partners from 8 different countries. The objective of the NanoSustain project is to develop innovative solutions for the sustainable design, use, recycling and final treatment of nanotechnology-based products, based on hazard characterization and life-cycle assessment (LCA). “This will be achieved by comprehensive data gathering and generation of relevant missing data, as well as their evaluation and validation for specific nano-products or product groups in relation to their human health and environmental hazards and possible impacts that may occur during after-production stages.”
Sources:
New EU-funded project to develop sustainable solutions for nanotechnology-based products based on hazard characterization
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=17326.php
NanoSustain Project
http://www.nanosustain.eu/

New Model Predicts Nanoparticle Cellular Toxicity
Enrico Burello and Andrew Worth of the EC's Joint Research Centre in Ispra, Italy have developed a new theoretical model that predicts which materials will make nanoparticles that could damage living cells. The model matches available electronic energy levels in the nanoparticle structure with the oxidation potentials of reactions that would either remove antioxidants from cells or generate reactive oxygen species (ROS) like hydrogen peroxide or superoxide ions. The researchers are trying to add factors besides oxidative stress.
Source:
Predicting Nanoparticle Toxicity
http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/News/2010/July/26071001.asp

German Paint Association Issues Nanomaterials Workplace Guidance
The German Paint and Printing Ink Association published a guideline document to inform its members on the responsible handling of nanoscale materials at the workplace.
Sources:
German Paint and Printing Ink Association publishes guidance for workplace handling nanomaterials
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=17345.php
Guidance for the handling of nano-objects at the workplace
http://www.lackindustrie.de/Default2.asp?cmd=get_dwnld&docnr=127627&file=Nanoleitfaden+englisch%2Epdf

Scientific Review on Using Nanomaterials in Construction Materials
Prof. Pedro J. Alvarez at Rice University and colleagues compiled a report listing current uses of nanomaterials in various construction applications and highlighting potential and promising future uses. They also outline benefits, exposure scenarios, and impact mitigation measures.
Sources:
Nanomaterials in the construction industry and resulting health and safety issues
http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=17138.php
Nanomaterials in the Construction Industry: A Review of Their Applications and Environmental Health and Safety Considerations
http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/nn100866w

Study Analyzes Stakeholder Preferences in Regulating Nanotechnology
According to Meridian Nanotechnology and Development News, a recent analysis conducted by Steffen Foss Hansen, a postdoctorate student at the Technical Univ. of Denmark, used Multicriteria Mapping (MCM) to study why some nanotechnology regulatory options, such as bans, moratoriums, and voluntary measures, are deemed to be either acceptable or unacceptable to various stakeholders in the United States. His findings are quoted as saying, "[A]dopting an incremental approach and implementing a new regulatory framework have been evaluated as the best options whereas a complete ban and no additional regulation of nanotechnology were the least favorable."
Sources:
Stakeholder Preferences in Regulating Nanotechnology
http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=17337.php
Multicriteria mapping of stakeholder preferences in regulating nanotechnology
http://www.springerlink.com/content/x82lt46t86514361/

What Can Nanotechnology Learn from Biotechnology? book
What Can Nanotechnology Learn from Biotechnology? is a collection of papers by experts--proponents and opponents--reviewing the social, environmental, ethical, and regulatory issues of nanotechnology by comparison to biotechnology controversies, mainly in agricultural and food-related applications.
Sources:
In the footsteps of biotech
http://www.nature.com/nnano/journal/v5/n7/full/nnano.2010.136.html (Subscription or purchase required)
What Can Nanotechnology Learn From Biotechnology?
http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/bookdescription.cws_home/713890/description#description

Webinars on Nanotech Regulation Offered
The Keller Heckman law firm is offering a webinar series Nanotechnology Today 2010, focusing on state regulation of nanotechnology in the absence of national regulation, the impact of nanomaterial regulation in Europe and North America, environmental applications of nanotechnology, and benefits and risk communication for nanomaterials. The series will comprises four sessions, in July, September, October, and November, and can be purchased for either live on-line viewing or three post-session on-demand viewings of each event.
Source:
Nanotechnology Today 2010 webinar
http://www.khlaw.com/showevent.aspx?Show=3789

Nanotechnology Conference to Be Held in Korea in August
The Nano Korea 2010 Symposium, "Nanotechnology for Green World", will be held in Seoul 17-20 August, concurrently with the 10th IEEE International Conference on Nanotechnology. More than 10,000 visitors from about 40 countries are expected to attend.
Source:
Nano Korea 2010
http://www.nanokorea.or.kr/Eng/

Reports and Information Suggested for Review

New Website Addresses Conflict-sensitive Conservation
While most of the discourse is around environmental protection in case of conflict, a new website is addressing conflict-sensitive conservation (CSC) in order to prevent conservation activities from exacerbating conflict or impeding peacebuilding. Since many of the world’s biodiversity hotspots are located in socially and/or politically unstable zones, conservation organizations have to “adopt conflict-sensitivity”. IISD, one of the project’s founding organizations, notes that conservation activities could exacerbate conflict situations by restricting populations’ access to key livelihood resources; introducing new or additional economic burdens or risks; and/or causing unequal distribution of benefits. The CSC website offers a portal for understanding the links between conservation and conflict in order to reduce their potential negative backlash, while also suggesting best practices and ideas for improving situations.
Sources:
Conflict-Sensitive Conservation. MEA Bulletin Issue No. 97, Thursday, 29 July 2010
http://www.iisd.ca/mea-l/meabulletin97.pdf
Conflict-Sensitive Conservation website
http://www.csconservation.org/

Measuring Progress in Conflict Environments: A Metrics Framework
Measuring Progress in Conflict Environments (MPICE): A Metrics Framework is “a hierarchical metrics system of outcome-based goals, indicators, and measures, useful to indications of trends toward the achievement of stabilization goals over time”. The approach shows a different way to measure conflict, based on outcomes in terms of success or failure results of strategies and projects aimed to strengthen stability and build a self-sustaining peace, instead of assessing traditional output such as the number of schools built, miles of roads paved, or numbers of police trained. MPICE provides a “system of metrics that can assist in formulating policy and implementing strategic and operational plans to transform conflict and bring stability to war-torn societies” by establishing “realistic goals, bringing adequate resources and authorities to bear”. The framework is aimed at analyzing the peace progress during stabilization and reconstruction in order to measure the drivers of violent conflict that prevent indigenous institutions from exiting the conflict peacefully. The MPICE system was tested in Afghanistan and Sudan, and it is currently being applied to crisis cases and will be applied to future ones, in order to improve the approach. It was developed by a consortium of organizations working in development, security, and policy.
Source:
Measuring Progress in Conflict Environments
http://www.usip.org/resources/measuring-progress-in-conflict-environments-mpice-0

Repository of Multilateral Environmental Agreements
Multilateral Environmental Agreements: State of Affairs and Developments 2010, edited by Philip Drost, Senior Legal Counsel at the Directorate International Affairs, Netherlands Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment, is a repository of the texts of the most important global Multilateral Environmental Agreements, “including the most recent texts of Rules of Procedure, Financial Rules and Compliance Procedures.” The chapter “Year Ahead” outlines the key negotiating issues for the forthcoming year.
Source:
Multilateral Environmental Agreements. State of Affairs and Developments 2010
http://www.isbs.com/partnumber.asp?cid=28591&pnid=326458

New Reports on Sustainability and Climate Change
The MIT Sloan School of Management has produced its Special Report, The Business of Sustainability -Findings and Insights from the First Annual Business of Sustainability Survey and the Global Thought Leader’s Research Project, assessing how leading organizations are responding to sustainability-related business forces.
Informing an Effective Response to Climate Change, a new report by the National Research Council, “examines the types of information systems and communication tools needed to ensure that national, state, and local decision makers and the public base climate change policies and personal choices for responding on the best available science.” Among other conclusions, it calls for a systematic framework to effectively address challenges posed by climate change and for improved decision-taking and evaluation. The report is part of the America’s Climate Choices suite of studies.
Sources:
The Business of Sustainability
http://sloanreview.mit.edu/special-report/the-business-of-sustainability/
TheBusiness of Sustainability -Findings from the first annual survey and interview project
http://www.mitsmr-ezine.com./busofsustainability/2009#pg1
Informing an Effective Response to Climate Change
http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12784

Back to Top


June 2010

NASA Scientist Warns of Possible Severe Solar EMPs in 2013
Dr Richard Fisher, the director of NASA’s Heliophysics Division, has warned in an interview that the coincidence of the sun’s magnetic energy and sunspot cycles in 2013 could produce devastating electromagnetic pulses (EMPs), disabling large portions of the electricity grid. The National Academy of Sciences made a similar forecast two years ago.
Source:
NASA warns solar flares from 'huge space storm' will cause devastation
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/space/7819201/Nasa-warns-solar-flares-from-huge-space-storm-will-cause-devastation.html

OSCE is Enhancing Environmental Security in Central Asia
The OSCE continued its commitment to further environmental security in Central Asia during a meeting held June 23, 2010, among the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Kazakhstan’s Secretary of State and Foreign Minister Kanat Saudabayev, President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, and other senior officials. In addition to exploring ways to improve environmental security in the region, they also discussed the related security issues in Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan. Following the meetings Saudabayev said: “The Kazakh OSCE Chairmanship is committed to preventing escalation of tensions in Kyrgyzstan, and is ready to help the country with post-conflict rehabilitation. The OSCE is working together with the international community to help Kyrgyzstan.” The next day’s high-level international conference on disarmament in Central Asia and the Caspian region, held also under the auspices of the OSCE, expanded the discussions to potential strategies for making Central Asia a zone free of weapons of mass destruction (including nuclear), strengthening nuclear security in Central Asian states (counter transit of nuclear materials by terrorists), safe transportation of energy resources, and the Caspian Sea border delimitation disputes. These issues will be further discussed at an informal meeting of OSCE Foreign Ministers in Almaty, July 16-17, 2010. [Related items: First EU-Central Asia Security Forum Included Environmental Security in September 2008, ENVSEC to Expand Environmental Co-operation in South Caucasus, in March 2009 environmental security reports.]
Sources:
OSCE Chairperson welcomes Turkmenistan’s role in promoting stability in Central Asia
http://www.osce.org/cio/item_1_44791.html
Turkmenistan Weekly Roundup
http://www.eurasianet.org/node/61437

G8 and G20 Integrate Security and Environmental Issues in Development
The G8 meeting held in Muskoka, Canada, declared that: “We must also ensure that the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism and organized crime, as well as many other challenges faced by states to address their security vulnerabilities, including climate change, remain at the forefront of public policy.” The G8 reiterated the goal of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions at least 50% by 2050, with developed countries reducing in aggregate by at least 80% compared to 1990 or more recent years.
The G8 was followed by the first Summit of the G20 in its capacity as the premier forum for international economic cooperation. The G20 addressed cooperation strategies for finding global solutions to transnational problems, such as the effects of climate change, food and energy security. A Working Group on Development was established to suggest a development strategy to be adopted at the Seoul Summit to be held November 11-12, 2010. However, critics say that the Toronto Declaration was watered down, not containing specific commitments to clean energy and phase-out subsidies of fossil fuels.
Sources:
G8 Muskoka Declaration Recovery and New Beginnings
http://g8.gc.ca/g8-summit/summit-documents/g8-muskoka-declaration-recovery-and-new-beginnings/
G-20 Summit website
http://g20.gc.ca/toronto-summit
The Toronto Declaration
http://www.g20.org/Documents/g20_declaration_en.pdf
G20 summit drops clean-energy pledge
http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/news/331848,summit-drops-clean-energy-pledge.html

Preparations for a Legally Binding Global Instrument on Mercury Advance
The First Meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to Prepare a Global Legally Binding Instrument on Mercury was held from June 7-11, 2010 in Stockholm, Sweden, attended by over 400 participants, representing governments, UN agencies, and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations. This first meeting consisted of initial exchanges of views on key elements of a convention, with the most important outcome being the request to the Secretariat for significant intersessional work, including the “elements of a comprehensive and suitable approach” to a legally binding instrument, which will be a basis for negotiations at the next meeting to be held January 24-28, 2011, in Chiba, Japan. [Related items: UNEP Conference Furthers Environmental Governance in February 2009, and EU Legislation Banning Mercury Exports in Effect in 2011 in October 2008 environmental security reports.]
Sources:
First Session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to Prepare a Global Legally Binding Instrument on Mercury (INC1)
http://www.iisd.ca/mercury/inc1/

Technological Advances with Environmental Security Implications

Elements of Prototype Tsunami Prediction System Tested
Reportedly, a team from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena CA has “successfully demonstrated for the first time elements of a prototype tsunami prediction system that quickly and accurately assesses large earthquakes and estimates the size of resulting tsunamis.” A key element in the new system’s performance is its taking into account the characteristics of the continental shelf near the epicenter.
Source:
NASA Demonstrates Tsunami Prediction System
http://www.physorg.com/news195755113.html

New Detection and Cleanup Techniques
New Catalyst Removes Nitrite and Nitrate from Drinking Water
Jitendra Kumar Chinthaginjala of the University of Twente, Netherlands, has developed a catalyst structure that can efficiently remove hazardous nitrite and nitrate, in combination with hydrogen, from drinking water, and turn it into harmless nitrogen. The system consists of nanoparticles of palladium or platinum attached to extremely fine threads of carbon, with the spaces between the threads allowing the nitrite and nitrate to come into good contact with the surface of the nanoparticles.
Source:
University of Twente Develops Catalysts For Clean Drinking Water
http://www.utwente.nl/news/ut-ontwikkelt-katalysatoren-voor-schoon-drinkwater

Silicon-on-insulator Microring Resonator Provides High Sensitivity Gas Detection
According to an article in Nanowerk News, INTEC, imec’s associated laboratory at Ghent University in Belgium, has developed a technique using coated SOI microring resonators with films of 3.5 nm ZnO nanocrystals to achieve optical sensing of gaseous ethanol. Ethanol vapor concentrations as low as 100 ppm have been detected. The devices can be modified for the detection of other gases.
Source:
Optical ethanol vapor sensor shows potential of SOI-based integrated gas sensors
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=16809.php

Increasing Energy Efficiency Technologies
Nanowire Solar Cells Have Prospect of Higher Efficiency
Researchers at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands are working on nanowire-based solar cells, which, when combined with proper mirror systems, might reach an efficiency as high as 65%, at a cost of less than $0.50/watt.
Source:
Towards nanowire solar cells with a 65-percent efficiency
http://w3.tue.nl/en/services/daz/alumni/news/news_article/?tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=9746&tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=12152&cHash=8c268b0cfc

Solar-chargeable Lamp Provides Low-Cost Illumination
A group of scientists from the Risø National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy, in Denmark, has developed a low-cost (perhaps about $4) plastic lamp, rechargeable from the sun.
Sources:
Low-cost solar solution could empower off-grid poor
http://www.scidev.net/en/news/low-cost-solar-solution-could-empower-off-grid-poor.html
Manufacture, integration and demonstration of polymer solar cells in a lamp for the Lighting Africa initiative
http://www.rsc.org/Publishing/Journals/EE/article.asp?doi=b918441d

Updates on Previously Identified Issues

International Renewable Energy Agency Statute Enters into Force on 8 July 2010
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Statute has received its 25th ratification and therefore IRENA will become a full-fledged international organization on 8 July 2010. Helen Pelosse, IRENA Interim Director General, underlined that IRENA’s ratification process was the fastest ever for such a process. IRENA’s objective is to promote a swift transition towards sustainable use of renewable energy. By the end of June 2010, a total of 144 countries and the European Union have signed IRENA’s mandate, and 26 countries have ratified it. [Related item: New International Renewable Energy Agency Opens in January, in December 2008 environmental security report]
Source:
IRENA’s statute enters into force
http://www.irena.org/news/Description.aspx?News_ID=19&mnu=nws

International Body to Monitor Biodiversity Destruction
The Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) will be an international body to monitor and curb the destruction of biodiversity. It is modeled on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which helped raise climate change on the international and national agendas and trigger changes. The establishment of the new body was agreed to by governments meeting in Busan, South Korea, and has to be approved by the UN General Assembly’s 65th session, which opens in September, and then presented for endorsement by environment ministers attending the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial scheduled to be held in February 2011, in Nairobi, Kenya. [Related item: New Mechanisms for Enforcing Biosafety and Biological Diversity Treaties in May 2008 environmental security report.]
Meantime, UNEP released the first issue in its new Policy Series on Ecosystem Management, “Integrated Solutions for Biodiversity, Climate Change and Poverty.” It highlights, inter alia, the importance of biodiversity in adaptation to climate change and the need for a new strategy to increase engagement of business leaders to improve biodiversity protection.
Sources:
Governments Give Green Light to International Body on Biodiversity
http://ictsd.org/i/news/biores/77860/
Summary of the third ad hoc intergovernmental and multi-stakeholder meeting on an intergovernmental science-policy platform on biodiversity and ecosystem services 7-11 June 2010
http://www.iisd.ca/ymb/biodiv/ipbes3/html/ymbvol158num11e.html
Integrated Solutions for Biodiversity, Climate Change and Poverty--UNEP Press Release: http://www.unep.org/ecosystemmanagement/Policy/UNEPPOLICYSERIESBLOG/tabid/4564/language/en-US/Default.aspx
Integrated Solutions for Biodiversity, Climate Change and Poverty--The Policy Brief
http://www.unep.org/policyseries/Sustainable_intergrated_Solutions.pdf

The Race for Natural Resources a Potential Impediment for Peace
Afghanistan’s natural resources have become more prominent in the media due to the recent discovery of previously unknown mineral deposits, such as copper, iron ore, lithium, and gold. However, concerns increase that the race for rare minerals could exacerbate conflict in vulnerable countries rich in those resources, such as the current case in the Congo. [Related item: Monopoly over Rare Earth Elements Raises Security and Environmental Concerns in January 2010 environmental security report.]
Sources:
World’s Mining Companies Covet Afghan Riches
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/18/world/asia/18mines.html?ref=world
Next for Afghanistan, the Curse of Plenty?
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/20/weekinreview/20mcneil.html
Death by Gadget
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/27/opinion/27kristof.html

EU Expert Group Suggests Action to Secure 14 Critical Raw Materials
An EU expert group has presented a final report identifying 14 raw materials as “critical” for EU industries, and suggesting that the EU take diplomatic steps to ensure that its companies gain easier access to them in the future. The 14 materials are antimony, beryllium, cobalt, fluorspar, gallium, germanium, graphite, indium, magnesium, niobium, platinum group metals, rare earths, tantalum and tungsten.
Sources:
Defining critical raw materials
http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/raw-materials/critical/index_en.htm
Meridian Nanotechnology and Development News 6/18
http://www.merid.org/nanodev/more.php?articleID=2691
EU to step up raw materials 'diplomacy'
http://www.euractiv.com/en/sustainability/eu-step-up-raw-materials-diplomacy-news-495397

British Group Outlines Plan for Zero Emissions by 2030
The Centre of Alternative Technology (CAT) in Wales has outlined a series of measures that could be taken to bring UK emissions down to zero by 2030. They involve a combination of electrification, insulation, and a massive scaling up of offshore wind.
Sources:
ZeroCarbonBritain2030
http://www.zcb2030.org/
Zero carbon Britain: how to get there in 10 steps
http://www.theecologist.co.uk/News/news_analysis/513525/zero_carbon_britain_how_to_get_there_in_10_steps.html

Energy Security Central to China’s Energy Plan
Although China is one of the world leaders in renewable energy production, its energy plan is still heavily relying on the more traditional energy sources of fossil fuels. While the benefits of renewable resources do include some relief for environmental issues like climate change, the focus of the Chinese energy plans seems to be energy security. Chinese energy legislation is expected to be approved in the fall.
Sources:
Security Tops the Environment in China’s Energy Plan
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/18/business/global/18yuan.html
Security tops climate in China
http://www.telegram.com/article/20100620/NEWS/6200594/1002/BUSINESS

Study Shows Deforestation Brings Malaria Epidemics
A study based on data collected in Brazil’s Amazon forests region revealed a direct link between deforestation and the increasing incidence of malaria. The analysis shows that for the period August 1997‑August 2001, a 4.2% change in deforestation can be associated with a 48% increase of malaria incidence.
Sources:
Olson SH, Gangnon R, Silveira GA, Patz JA. Deforestation and malaria in Mâncio Lima county, Brazil. Emerg Infect Dis 2010, 16:1108–15. doi: 10.3201/eid1607.091785
http://www.cdc.gov/eid/content/16/7/1108.htm
Cleared forests lead to rise in malaria in Brazil
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE65F61720100617

Increasing Advocacy for BPA Restrictions
France has adopted legislation banning baby bottles containing bisphenol A (BPA), although the opposition parties demanded a larger spectrum ban. Some other European countries, as well as Canada, have regulations restricting or requiring precautionary use of BPA. In view of an upcoming assessment by the European Food Safety Authority (Efsa), to be published in July, a group of experts (40 organizations and 19 academics) endorsed a letter supporting Efsa’s decision to review a larger number of studies addressing potential hazards of BPA use in consumer products, including non-industry-funded papers. Over 130 studies conducted in the past ten years revealed that even low levels of BPA could cause serious health problems. [Related item: Concerns Increasing for BPA Bans and Phthalates in October 2008 environmental; security report.]
Source:
A group of 60 scientists backed by environmental, health
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/use-of-bpa-must-be-limited-say-scientists-2007841.html
French lawmakers ban baby bottle chemical
http://www.physorg.com/news196513736.html

Toxic Substances Control Act Up for Revision
The Safe Chemicals Act of 2010 has been introduced in Congress to replace the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976. The new law would include size, size distribution, shape, and surface structure in the definition of a chemical’s “substance characteristic”, raising the question of the effect new provisions would have on products containing nanomaterials.
Source:
Taking the NanoPulse -- Toxic Substance Meets Poison Thinking
http://www.industryweek.com/articles/taking_the_nanopulse_--_toxic_substance_meets_poison_thinking_22034.aspx?Page=2?ShowAll=1

Climate Change
Scientific Evidence and Natural Disasters
May 2010 was the 303rd consecutive month that was hotter than the 20th century global average for that month, according to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center. The combined global land and ocean surface temperature for May was 59.84ºF (15.46ºC), which was 1.24ºF (0.69ºC) above the 20th century average of 58.6ºF (14.8ºC).
The Web-based climate policy assessment system ‘Climate Action Tracker’ (www.climateactiontracker.org) shows that present developments and actions pledged globally “give virtually no chance to limit global mean temperature increase to below 2ºC by the end of the century. …[and] give us a virtual certainty of exceeding 1.5°C, with global warming very likely exceeding 2°C and a more than 50% chance of exceeding 3°C by 2100”

Food and Water Security
According to the annual OECD and FAO joint report, food prices might increase drastically over the next ten years, with forecasts for wheat and coarse grain prices to rise between 15% and 40% (in real terms, adjusted for inflation, average levels during the 1997-2006 period—the decade before the price spike of 2007-08); vegetable oils are expected to be more than 40% higher and dairy prices are projected to be 16-45% higher. Much of the increase will be generated by growing demand from emerging markets and for biofuel production.
A ‘water security risk index’, compiled by British-based risk consultancy Maplecroft, found African and Asian nations had the most vulnerable supplies, judged by factors including access to drinking water, per capita demand and dependence on rivers that first flow through other nations. Somalia, where just 30% of the population has clean drinking water, is in the most precarious situation, followed by Mauritania, Sudan, Niger, Iraq, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Egypt, Turkmenistan and Syria.
At the High Level International Conference on the Midterm Comprehensive Review of the Implementation of the International Decade for Action “Water for Life” 2005-2015, from 8-10 June 2010, in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, participants reviewed the progress during the first five years. The Dushanbe Declaration on Water, which includes a number of conclusions and recommendations, will be submitted to the UN General Assembly. The review highlights the importance of, among others: building resilience and reducing vulnerabilities to extreme events; enhancing hydrologic, hydrogeologic and meteorological data collection, assessment and dissemination capabilities; and sustained and predictable financial assistance and technology transfer to developing countries.
“Vision 2030: The resilience of water supply and sanitation in the face of climate change” is a collection of papers in preparation released by the WHO together with the UK Department for International Development, including a “full technical report, as well as detailed reports on climate change and technology projections, and a review of resilience and adaptive capacity, including a series of technology-by-technology fact sheets.”

Computer Modeling
An International Conference on Post-Kyoto Climate Change Mitigation Modeling gathered about 450 people — experts in modeling as well as students — to introduce developments of greenhouse gas reduction modeling and foster international cooperation and networking for improving GHG reduction analysis models. It was agreed that the models should factor in new developments in technical innovation, changes in lifestyle, and energy security and energy systems.
Military and security experts participating at a conference organized by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s new Center for Environment and National Security agreed that the Defense Department has to negotiate directly with climate modelers to get the future forecasts it needs. NOAA’s next-generation climate models are expected to incorporate knowledge of the social sciences, agriculture, and marine ecosystems, and highlight not only potential changes, but also which might be the plausible consequences. It was also highlighted that there is a gap between the way scientific data is presented and the real needs of the defense organizations.

Adaptation
The Environment Council of the EU, which met on 11 June 2010 in Luxembourg, adopted conclusions on water scarcity, drought, and adaptation to climate change, as well as on preparing forests for climate change. The Council stressed inter-linkages of water scarcity and drought with climate change adaptation and biodiversity conservation, and the importance of exchanging experience and best practices with other partners. The Council also supported the development of a European drought observatory which is tasked to contribute to drought forecasting, assessment and monitoring as well as to the exchange of best practices on this issue.
The first World Congress on Cities and Adaptation to Climate Change was held May 28-30, 2010, in Bonn, Germany, under the theme “Resilient Cities 2010”. During the Congress, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the FAO co-organized a session on “Ensuring food security through adaptation”, where participants discussed adaptation approaches for achieving food security including: diversifying and adapting local and traditional food; securing watershed management; and adapting supply-demand linkages for adequate food supply and processing. At the end of the Congress, members of the Mayors Adaptation Forum signed the Bonn Declaration of Mayors. The Declaration recognizes the failure of the UNFCCC COP 15 to deliver a strong and comprehensive post-2012 climate agreement and identifies ten action points, such as to prioritize local level adaptation strategies that support local sustainable development.

Post-Copenhagen Negotiations
The Bonn Climate Change Talks took place between May 31 and June 11, 2010 in Bonn, Germany, attended by approximately 2,900 participants, representing governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, academia, the private sector and the media. Critics say that not much was achieved for advancing the negotiations for the next phase. The request of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and many other parties for a technical paper by the Secretariat on options for limiting global average temperature increase to 1.5°C and 2°C from pre-industrial levels, was opposed by Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar. The final text of the meeting mentions that industrialized countries should aim to cut greenhouse gases 25‑40% by 2020 but it does not set a year when that comparison should start (scientists say the base line should be 1990, while the United States has argued for 2005.)
Meantime, the IEA reports that fossil fuel consumption subsidies amounted to $557 billion in 2008, a considerable increase from $342 billion in 2007. Considering a baseline in which subsidy rates remain unchanged, IEA forecasts and models indicate that phaseout between 2011 and 2020 would need to: cut primary global energy demand by 5.8% by 2020; cut global oil demand by 6.5 mb/d in 2020, predominately in the transport sector; reduce CO2 emissions by 6.9% by 2020 – or 2.4 GT of CO2. It notes that both the Copenhagen Accord and the G20 subsidies are important to meet warming targets. If the Copenhagen Accord pledges were fully implemented, then emissions would be reduced by 70% of what is needed to be on track to meet the 2ºC target by 2020. Additionally, if the G20 subsidy commitment were to be fully implemented, it would reduce emissions by more than 30% of what is needed to be on track to meet the 2ºC target by 2020.
Sources:
May 2010 was warmest on record: U.S. government data
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE65E63F20100616
Climate Action Tracker
www.climateactiontracker.org
Food prices to rise by up to 40% over next decade, UN report warns
http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/jun/15/food-prices-rise-un-report
Water Security Risk Index 2010
http://maplecroft.com/about/news/water-security.html
Dushanbe Meeting website
http://waterconference2010.tj
Vision 2030: The resilience of water supply and sanitation in the face of climate change:
http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/publications/9789241598422_cdrom/en/index.html
The international forum on GHG reduction analysis models
http://www.korea.net/news.do?mode=detail&guid=47926
Defense Experts Want More Explicit Climate Models
http://www.nytimes.com/cwire/2010/06/24/24climatewire-defense-experts-want-more-explicit-climate-m-35887.html
World Congress on Cities and Adaptation to Climate Change website
http://resilient-cities.iclei.org/bonn2010/home/
Summary of the Bonn Climate Change Talks: 31 May - 11 June 2010
http://www.iisd.ca/download/pdf/enb12472e.pdf
Energy Subsidies: Getting the Prices Right
http://www.iea.org/files/energy_subsidies.pdf

Nanotechnology Safety Issues
German Body Advises against Nanosilver in Consumer Products
The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), of the German Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMELV), is advising against the use of nanoscale silver ions in consumer products until a definitive safety assessment is available.
Sources:
Nanosilver has no place in food, textiles or cosmetics
http://www.bfr.bund.de/cd/50960
Nanosilver Has No Place in Food, Textiles or Cosmetics
http://www.bfr.bund.de/cd/50960

French Group Opens Public Web Site on Nanotechnology
The Citizen Alliance on the ChallEnges of Nanotechnologies (CACEN) (in French "Alliance Citoyenne sur les Enjeux des Nanotechnologies": ACEN) has opened a new (French language) website <nano.acen-cacen.org> where citizens can find and share information, questions, and analyses about societal issues raised by nanotechnologies.
Source:
ACEN launches collaborative website on societal issues raised by nanotechnology
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=16756.php
Web site: http://nano.acen-cacen.org

National Nanotech Regulation Experts Discuss Emerging Issues
An interview with three key figures on emerging issues in nanotechnology regulation in the U.S. presents an overview of the nanotech-regulations situation in the U.S., notes that interest in evaluating the potential health and environmental risks of nanotechnology is growing, and reveals a high consensus that reasonable nanotech-regulations would be beneficial for the industry as well as for society. The article is the result of interview with Dr. Jeff Wong, Chief Scientist at the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC); Bill Gulledge, Managing Director of the American Chemistry Counsel (ACC)’s Chemical Products & Technology Division and Chair of the ACC Nanotechnology Panel; and Tom Jacob, former DuPont Manager of Government Affairs for the Western Region and currently of T.R. Jacobs & Associates, LLP.
Source:
National leaders sound off on emerging nanotechnology regulation
http://www.plantservices.com/articles/2010/06NanotechnologyRegulation.html?page=full

EU Restrictions on Nanofoods Expected to Pass in July
The Committee on Environment, Health and Consumer Protection of the European Parliament  has voted (42-2-3) in favor of excluding products containing nanoparticles from the EU list of novel foods allowed on the market. The action also included a declaration that food produced from nanotechnology processes must undergo risk assessment before being approved for use and must be labeled on packaging. A final plenary vote on the measure is expected to take place in the European Parliament in July.
Source:
U.S. should follow Europe and put the brakes on nanotech food and other products
http://www.grist.org/article/food-opinion-US-should-follow-Europe-and-put-the-brakes-on-nanotech-food

Back to Top


May 2010

The Oil Spill Likely to Initiate International Regulations Discussions and Accelerate Alternative Energy Developments
The British Petroleum (BP) oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has alerted the world to the need for better regulatory environments, safety systems and response capacity, and the need to accelerate efforts for alternative sources of energy. It could also fuel disputes between oil corporations and local populations such as those in Peru, Ecuador, and Nigeria. Given the international implications of the environmental consequences of dangerous oil offshore exploration and polluting oil sands, as well as the fact that most operating companies are foreign and/or multinational corporations, international regulations (beyond national criminal penalties) are likely to be created.
Sources:
BP Risks Big Fines and Loss of Major U.S. Contracts
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703630304575270822261954614.html
A Proxy War in Peru
http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/05/19/a_proxy_war_in_peru
Nigeria: Delta Communities Cry Out Over Oil Spillage
http://allafrica.com/stories/201006010104.html
Lawyers lining up for class-action suits over oil spill
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/16/AR2010051603254.html
BP Oil Spill Could Happen Anywhere: Norway
http://planetark.org/wen/57879

Computer-Designed Genome Creates First “Artificial Cell”
Researchers at the J. Craig Venter Institute announced the successful construction of the bacterial cell Mycoplasma mycoides JCVI-syn1.0, the first synthetic cell designed in a computer and self-replicating, controlled only by the synthetic genome. Since the applications could vary from great improvements to the human condition to new forms of bioweapons, President Obama assigned the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues to assess the potential opportunities as well as risks (such as environmental and security) triggered by the new achievement. Meanwhile, the FBI Biological Sciences Outreach Program launched an initiative aimed at educating scientists on the potential security threats posed by synthetic biology. [Related item: New Technologies Need New Regulations Systems in March 2009 and other items on this issue in previous environmental security reports.]
Sources:
First Self-Replicating Synthetic Bacterial Cell
http://www.jcvi.org/cms/press/press-releases/full-text/article/first-self-replicating-synthetic-bacterial-cell-constructed-by-j-craig-venter-institute-researcher/
Artificial life? Synthetic genes 'boot up' cell
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE64J5RY20100526
NBICS and generation of synthetic organisms
http://politicsofhealth.org/wol/2010-05-30.htm
You may soon be visited by an FBI agent, or a scientist acting on behalf of one. Here's why
http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/57355/

Technological Advances with Environmental Security Implications

New Detection and Cleanup Techniques

Chemical Vapor Deposition Creates Nano Filters, Catalyst Scaffolds
According to a story in Nanowerk News, an international group of researchers, led by Robert Vajtai at Rice Univ., has developed a technique that uses chemical vapor deposition to form carbon nanotube membranes that "could find wide application as extra-fine air filters", removing "up to 99 percent of particulates with diameters of less than [1000 nm]", and "as scaffolds for catalysts that speed chemical reactions."
Sources:
Scientists build better catalyst with nanotube membranes
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=15986.php
Three-Dimensional Carbon Nanotube Scaffolds as Particulate Filters and Catalyst Support Membranes
http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/nn100150x

New Nature-based Filter Allows Utilization of Gray Water
Prof. Robert D. Berghage of the Pennsylvania State Univ. and associates have developed a filter that converts gray water (from sinks, showers, and other non-pathogenic sources) to a form suitable for irrigation and similar uses. According to an item in physorg.com, the filter "consists of two plastic pipes filled with layers of porous rocks, soil, crumbs from discarded tires, composted cow manure and peat moss. Vegetables and other plants are planted in holes along the sides of the pipes. The pipes stand in a basin with still more plants -- papyrus and horsetail reed -- whose roots support microbes that remove pollutants."
Source:
Love that dirty water: Scientists find low-tech way to recycle H2O
http://www.physorg.com/news193945696.html

Increasing Energy Efficiency Technologies

Inexpensive Metal Catalyst for Hydrogen Generation from Water
Researchers with DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Univ. of California, Berkeley, have discovered an inexpensive metal catalyst that can effectively generate hydrogen from water. The proton reduction catalyst is based on a molybdenum-oxo metal complex that is about 70 times cheaper than platinum, today’s most widely used metal catalyst for splitting the water molecule, according to Dr. Hemamala Karunadasa, who also states “In addition, our catalyst does not require organic additives, and can operate in neutral water, even if it is dirty, and can operate in sea water". At present, however, the process requires an excessive expenditure of electrical energy.
Sources:
Berkeley Scientists Discover Inexpensive Metal Catalyst for Generating Hydrogen from Water
http://newscenter.lbl.gov/news-releases/2010/04/30/inexpensive-catalyst-for-generating-hydrogen-from-water/
Catalyst Brings Cheap Hydrogen Fuel Closer to Reality
http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2010/04/catalyst-brings-cheap-hydrogen-f.html
A molecular molybdenum-oxo catalyst for generating hydrogen from water
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v464/n7293/full/nature08969.html

New Structure Almost Doubles Solar Cell Efficiency
Researchers Kui-Qing Peng of Beijing Normal University, and Shuit-Tong Lee of the City Univ. of Hong Kong have developed a silicon solar cell with a unique and robust geometry of nanoholes having diameters of about 500-600 nm, achieving a power conversion efficiency of 9.5%, almost double the just over 5% efficiency of other current designs.
Sources:
Silicon nanohole solar cells aim to make photovoltaics cost-competitive
http://www.physorg.com/news192447083.html
High-Performance Silicon Nanohole Solar Cells
http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ja910082y

Updates on Previously Identified Issues

Climate Change
Scientific Evidence and Natural Disasters
Scientists have found that the upper 700m of the ocean has warmed significantly between 1993 and 2008 – the period covered by the study – and slightly faster than IPCC estimates. NASA scientists observed that 80-90% of the increased warming ends up in the ocean, with a double effect on potential sea level rise: from expansion of water volume, as well as diminishing capacity to absorb CO2 and therefore further stimulating the effects of global warming. The research was conducted by an international team of scientists from NOAA, NASA, the Met Office Hadley Centre in the United Kingdom, the University of Hamburg in Germany and the Meteorological Research Institute in Japan, and published in the report Robust Warming of the Global Upper Ocean. Meantime, oceans are more acidic “than they have ever been for at least 20 million years,” according to a report by the European Science Foundation. It reveals that seas have already become 30% more acidic in the past 200 years as the oceans absorbed about a third of the CO2 emissions from human activities since the Industrial Revolution and if current trends continue, they could be 150% more acidic by 2100 than they were in pre-industrial times.

Food and Water Security
UNEP warns in the “Green Economy Report: A preview” brochure that 30% of fish stocks have already been collapsed (i.e. less than 10% of their former potential yield) and virtually all commercial fisheries risk running out by 2050. The lives of some 520 million people are financially linked to fisheries today. While the entire value of fish caught is only $85 billion, $27 billion are spent on government subsidies, mostly in rich countries, leading to overexploitation. In “the Yearbook 2010” released earlier this year, UNEP warned that overexploitation, pollution, and rising temperatures threaten 63% of the world’s assessed fisheries stocks. It also warns that governance arrangements, population growth, increasing living standards, over-exploitation, declining water quality, and climate change will cause water scarcity to emerge as a challenge to governments by 2030.
An Israeli consortium unveiled the world’s largest reverse osmosis desalination plant in the coastal city of Hadera. The plant will supply 127 million m3 of desalinated water a year, representing about 20% of Israel’s yearly household consumption and is the third in a series of five desalination plants being built over the next few years that will eventually supply Israel with about 750 million m3 annually for addressing the country’s water shortage. While other Middle East countries have bigger desalination plants, those use thermal-based technology that requires more energy and is less environment-friendly.
Several Arab countries are looking into using technologies for increasing their agricultural land. An Abu Dhabi soil survey found that with adequate investment in the right technologies, over 200,000 hectares of land could be reformed for agricultural use, while Qatar and Kuwait are trying to increase domestic agricultural yields through mycorrhizae—the use of selected types of fungus that enhance the growth of plant roots in arid areas. In a matter of 18 months, the institute managed to convert 4,000 m2 of "hyper-saline waste-land” in Qatar’s southern Dukhan area into a productive land for vegetables and crops production. Similar projects are going on in Kuwait, India, Oman, and the UAE.

Health
The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), a member of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), has announced the launch of a $4.4 million research project to build a climate model that can predict outbreaks of infectious disease in Africa. The research is being undertaken in Ghana, Malawi and Senegal, ILRI working with 11 partners and researchers to integrate data from climate modeling and disease forecasting systems in order to develop a capacity to predict the likelihood of epidemics six months in advance of an outbreak.

Melting Glaciers and Sea Ice
A team of scientists led by University of Leeds estimates that net loss of floating sea ice and ice shelves in the last decade is 7,420 km3. While melting of floating sea ice and ice shelves do not add directly to sea level rise, it unblocks the way for more land ice to slide and melt into the sea; as well as decreasing the reflection of sunlight, it is warming the local area, further increasing melting and salinity dilution which expands sea volume a bit. They estimate that if all the polar ice melted, sea levels would rise by about 70 meters.

Computer Modeling and Scenarios
Prof Dirk Helbing of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich has outlined a plan for a “Living Earth Simulator” that would use economic, environmental, and health data to create a model of the entire planet in real time. The project would gather detailed data about the planet and human activities, use it to simulate the behavior of whole political, social, and economic systems, and then make predictions to prevent crises from occurring. He also envisions ‘situation rooms’ from which global leaders could manage crises as they were going on.

Adaptation
The third edition of Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO-3) highlights that the linked challenges of biodiversity loss and climate change must be addressed with equal priority and in close coordination. It confirms that the world has failed to meet its target to achieve a significant reduction in the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010. While listing climate change as one of the five principal pressures that drive biodiversity loss, the report also points out opportunities to address the biodiversity crisis while contributing to other social objectives, including the fight against climate change. It outlines a possible new strategy for reducing biodiversity loss, including addressing the underlying causes of its indirect drivers, such as patterns of consumption, the impacts of increased trade and demographic change, and ending harmful subsidies. The report was produced by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the UNEP’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre and is one of the key outputs of the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity.
A UN HABITAT conference on Promoting Green Building Rating in Africa was held May 4-6, 2010, in Nairobi, Kenya, with participants from 20 African countries. It adopted the Nairobi Declaration on Green Building for Africa, which sets a framework for strengthening the ability of cities to adapt to climate change by making use of local and naturally available energies and materials, and calls for establishing an African Network of Green Building Councils.

Post-Copenhagen Negotiations
The second round of negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change began in Bonn, Germany, on May 31 and is scheduled to conclude on June 11. The meeting brings together representatives from 182 countries. A report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that world energy consumption would rise 49% by 2035, to 739 quadrillion BTU in 2035 from 495 quadrillion BTU in 2007, led by developing nations such as China and India, whose part of total world energy consumption will grow from about 20% to 30% over the projection period, while the U.S. share would fall from 21% to about 16% over the same period.

Sources:
Ocean Stored Significant Warming Over Last 16 Years
http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2010/20100519_ocean.html
Europe's scientists call for more effort in tackling rising ocean acidity
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-05/esf-esc051810.php
"Double trouble" in acidic, warming oceans – study
http://in.reuters.com/article/idINIndia-48634120100519
UNEP Green Economy Report: A Preview
http://www.unep.ch/etb/publications/Green Economy/UNEP_Rio20PrepCom_GERPreview_06May10_FINAL.pdf
Israel Opens Largest Desalination Plant Of Its Kind
http://planetark.org/wen/58036
Gulf Looks To Science To Turn Desert To Farmland
http://planetark.org/wen/58059
US$4.4 million awarded for research to build a climate model able to predict outbreaks of infectious disease in Africa
http://www.ilri.org/ilrinews/index.php/archives/1838
Global Floating Ice In "Constant Retreat": Study
http://planetark.org/wen/58216
The FuturIcT Knowledge Accelerator
http://www.futurict.ethz.ch/FuturIcT
GBO-3 Website
http://gbo3.cbd.int
Conference Green Building
http://www.unhabitat.org/categories.asp?catid=640
Climate Talks Open in Bonn
http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb32/
Under Current Policies
http://www.eia.doe.gov/neic/press/press343.html

Recommendations for Strengthening the Convention on Biological Diversity
The 14th meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice and the 3rd meeting of the CBD Working Group on Review of Implementation of the Convention adopted several recommendations to be considered by the Convention’s review conference be held in October 2010, in Nagoya, Japan. The recommendations include a Strategic Plan for the period 2011-2020 to halt (or reduce the rate of) biodiversity loss (although some argue that 2050 would be a more realistic timeline.) Debates continue on the legal nature and institutional aspects of a possible biodiversity technology initiative, as well as the role of intellectual property rights in technology transfer. It was also agreed that the COP invite the UN General Assembly to consider declaring 2011-2020 the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity. [Related item: New Measures to Continue the Fight against Biodiversity Loss in March 2010 environmental security report.]
Source:
Summary of the Third Meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-Ended Working Group on Review of Implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity
http://www.iisd.ca/biodiv/wgri3/

The Competition for Rare Earth Metals Set to Continue
As green technology and energy are taking off, the competition for rare metals that are needed for the energy generation and storage equipment is increasing. Although rare earth metals are relatively abundant in the Earth’s crust, their extraction is difficult and environmentally polluting. Presently, over 90% of these minerals are mined in China, who increasingly wants to keep more for its own industry and allegedly expressed intentions to reduce or even stop the export of some of these resources. Meantime, although some of these materials could be retrieved from recycling used electronics, electronic waste is exported for salvage to countries in Asia and Africa. Although mines are planned in California, Australia, Canada, and Greenland, setting them up, meeting environmental standards, and workforce cost might delay exploitation. [Related item: Monopoly over Rare Earth Elements Raises Security and Environmental Concerns in January 2010 environmental security report.]
Source:
Why China holds 'rare' cards in the race to go green
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8689547.stm

Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference Adopted Document for Reducing Nuclear Threat
The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty five-yearly review conference unanimously approved a final document setting out a number of measures to reduce nuclear risk, based on the three pillars of the treaty: disarmament, non-proliferation, and promoting peaceful atomic energy. It includes, inter alia, a commitment by the five nuclear powers to expedite nuclear disarmament efforts and reduce the role of atomic weapons in their military policies; a conference scheduled for 2012 on establishing a Middle East zone free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction; and resuming India and Pakistan peace talks in July. The conference took place May 3-28, 2010 at UN Headquarters in New York, attended by representatives of the accord’s 189 member nations. [Related items: Advancements on Denuclearization in April 2010 and other items on this issue in previous environmental security reports.] Meantime, Chad became the 100th nation ratifying the Additional Protocol giving IAEA enhanced access to information on its nuclear activity.
Sources:
2010 NPT Review Conference
http://www.un.org/en/conf/npt/2010/
Nuclear Conference Approves Limited Nonproliferation Measures
http://gsn.nti.org/gsn/nw_20100601_1163.php
PM's Office: Israel won't comply with NPT resolution
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3895780,00.html
Chad becomes 100th nation to give UN nuclear inspectors greater access
http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=34697&Cr=nuclear&Cr1

New Legal Proceeding over Allegations of Use of Illegal Weapons in Iraq
The UK Ministry of Defence began investigations over allegations that Britain was complicit in the use of chemical weapons in the 2004 attack against Fallujah, Iraq. The increased number of child deformities, miscarriages, and cancers might be linked to the alleged use of weapons including white phosphorus, a modern equivalent of napalm, and depleted uranium by the coalition forces. Affected Iraqi families initiated legal actions against the UK Government for breaching international law, war crimes, and failing to intervene to prevent a war crime. [Related items: UN Mission Assessment of Gaza Conflict Included Environmental Impacts in September 2009, and Changes to War Crimes Proposed for the International Criminal Court in November 2009 environmental security reports.]
Source:
Army to be sued for war crimes over its role in Fallujah attacks
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/army-to-be-sued-for-war-crimes-over-its-role-in-fallujah-attacks-1961475.html

New EU Regulations for Increasing Energy Efficiency and Reducing Emissions European Commission to Strengthen Bio-Waste Management
The European Commission has published a strategy for improve bio-waste management and help meet the targets set by the Landfill Directive 1999/31/EC that requires Member States to reduce the amount of biodegradable waste that they landfill to 35% of 1995 levels by 2016. The Commission’s strategy aims to reduce bio-waste environmental impact while also taking advantage of its potential as a renewable source of energy and recycled materials, as well as reducing the production of methane (a GHG 25 times more potent than CO2). The Commission estimates that bio-waste is accounting for 88 million tons of municipal waste each year in Europe, while about 2% of the EU’s overall renewable energy target could be met if all bio-waste was turned into energy. To support Member States, the EU will provide specific guidance, standards, and indicators for bio-waste prevention with possible future binding targets. [Related item: European Union to Consider Regulations for Curbing Biowaste in June 2009 environmental security report.]
Sources:
New Commission strategy aims to get even more from bio-waste
http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/10/578&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en
New Commission strategy aims to get even more from bio-waste
http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/10/578&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en

Only Very Low-Energy Buildings to Be Built in EU after 2020
The new EU energy efficiency legislation for buildings requires all Member States to alter their building codes so that all new buildings meet high energy-saving standards from the end of 2020 if private, and two years earlier if public constructions, while existing buildings will have to be upgraded where possible. The directive is part of the wider 20/20/20 EU energy efficiency legislative package.
Source:
New energy labels for household appliances; low-energy buildings from 2020
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/expert/infopress_page/051-74642-137-05-21-909-20100517IPR74641-17-05-2010-2010-false/default_en.htm

North American Proposal to Phase Down HFC's
The EPA has announced that Canada and Mexico have joined the US in proposing to expand the scope of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. The proposal would phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are a significant and rapidly growing contributor to climate change, and lists four possible substitute refrigerants. Note: previous proposals were opposed by China, India, and several Arab countries; see relevant item: New Decisions Adopted for Strengthening the Montreal Protocol in November 2009 environmental security report.
Source:
Recent International Developments in Saving the Ozone Layer
http://www.epa.gov/ozone/intpol/mpagreement.html

Russia Suggests Opening New Transportation Corridor via the Arctic
Russia is suggesting the opening of a new transport corridor from Europe to Southeast Asia, via the Arctic region. One of Russia’s largest shipping companies, Sovkomflot, intends to send a tanker from Murmansk to Southeast Asia in November to validate the new waterway. In addition to being much shorter, the new pirate-free route is also safer. If the plan proves viable, Russia will set up the administrative infrastructure to manage navigation across the Arctic, such as small maintenance ports. [Related items: Arctic Debates Continue in March 2010 and other items on this issue in previous environmental security reports.]
Source:
Arctic shipping route is safer
http://english.ruvr.ru/2010/05/26/8505969.html

Nanotechnology Safety Issues

Five-Year European Study of the Needs and Opportunities for Nanotech R/D
A report on GENNESYS (Grand European Initiative on Nanoscience and Nanotechnology using Neutron- and Synchrotron Radiation Sources), a five-year European-wide study of the needs and opportunities for coordinating future R/D in nano science and technology, has been published. The 500-page report is the result of the collaborative work of more than 600 experts, and, according to Meridian Nanotechnology and Development News, "assesses the state of nanomaterials science and technology, highlights future challenges and research needs, and pinpoints the areas of research that will most benefit from joint research strategies with synchrotron radiation and neutron sources."
Sources:
GENNESYS White Paper
http://www.merid.org/nanodev/more.php?articleID=2589

ILO Booklet on Workplace Hazards
According to Meridian Nanotechnology and Development News, the International Labour Organization has published a new booklet, Emerging risks and new patterns of prevention in a changing world of work, that summarizes key new occupational safety and health issues, including those related to technological innovations such as nanotechnology and biotechnology.
Source:
Focus on new emerging hazards in a changing world of work
http://www.ilo.org/global/About_the_ILO/Media_and_public_information/Press_releases/lang--en/WCMS_126383/index.htm

ObservatoryNANO 2nd Annual Report on Ethical and Societal Aspects of Nanotechnology
Meridian Nanotechnology and Development News reports that the ObservatoryNANO project has published a report on nanobioethics that includes discussions of the ethical, legal and societal aspects of nanotech for health, medicine, nanobiotechnology, nanotech for agrifood, and on nanotechnology and animal testing.
Sources:
ObservatoryNano 2nd Annual Report on Ethical and Societal Aspects of Nanotechnology
http://www.merid.org/nanodev/more.php?articleID=2584
Nanobioethics. ObservatoryNano 2nd Annual Report on Ethical and Societal Aspects of Nanotechnology
http://www.observatorynano.eu/project/catalogue/4NB/

Policy Framework for Addressing Nanomaterial Risks in California
The Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment at the Univ. of California, San Francisco, has developed a draft set of policy recommendations to address the potential health risk for the state of California from nanomaterials and nanotechnology: "A Nanotechnology Policy Framework: Policy Recommendations for Addressing Potential Health Risks from Nanomaterials in California". The report presents "an overview of nanotechnology materials and their potential exposures and human health risks, and proposes a selection of policy options for addressing potential hazards and risks from nanotechnology."
Sources:
Nanotechnology policy framework for addressing nanomaterial risks in California
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=16113.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nanowerk%2FagWB+%28Nanowerk+Nanotechnology+News%29
"A Nanotechnology Policy Framework: Policy Recommendations for Addressing Potential Health Risks from Nanomaterials in California"
http://www.prhe.ucsf.edu/prhe/nanoreportDRAFT.pdf

OECD Publishes Three Reports on Nanotech Safety and Regulation
Report of the Workshop on Risk Assessment of Manufactured Nanomaterials in a Regulatory Context presents critical issues specific for risk assessment of nanomaterials in a regulatory context and identifies approaches for risk assessment based on the current state of knowledge. Presentations included Risk Assessment Case Studies on nano-TiO2, nano-Ag and Carbon Nanotubes.
Report of the Questionnaire on Regulatory Regimes on Manufactured Nanomaterials summarizes objectives and activities covered by each piece of legislation; features for consideration when amending or drafting legislation for regulatory oversight
OECD Programme on the Safety of Manufactured Nanomaterials 2009-2012: Operational Plans of the Projects aims to ensure that the approach to hazard, exposure and risk assessment is of a high, science-based, and internationally harmonized standard
Sources:
Report of the Workshop on Risk Assessment of Manufactured Nanomaterials in a Regulatory Context
Report of the Questionnaire on Regulatory Regimes on Manufactured Nanomaterials
OECD Programme on the Safety of Manufactured Nanomaterials 2009-2012: Operational Plans of the Projects
http://www.oecd.org/department/0,3355,en_2649_34365_1_1_1_1_1,00.html

Water Management Is the Main Aspect of Water Security Issues
Water Security: Global, regional and local challenges published by the Institute for Public Policy Research is a policy brief examining the management of trans-boundary water resources. Analyzing the global policy framework in place for addressing water insecurity, it evaluates and makes recommendations for various policy alternatives to strengthen the framework. Similarly, the Water Security: War or Peace? reportargues that a failure of politics rather than scarcity per se is a likely cause of “water war.” Noting that transboundary water is generally managed peacefully, the paper suggests disconnecting water and national security discourses and rather associating water with cooperative attitudes. The paper also highlights that the capacity to adapt to scarcity tends to be underestimated.
Sources:
Water Security: Global, regional and local challenges, by Patricia Wouters, Institute for Public Policy Research, May 2010,
Wouters, P., Water Security: Global, regional and local challenges.
http://www.ippr.org.uk/publicationsandreports/publication.asp?id=749
Thomas Lawfield, Water Security: War or Peace?, Peace & Conflict Monitor (May 03, 2010),
http://www.monitor.upeace.org/innerpg.cfm?id_article=715

A New Approach to Environmental Crime
Eco-Crime and Justice: Essays on Environmental Crime is a collection of four essays detailing the multidisciplinary application of criminology to environmental harm. The papers examine how environmental crimes, including illegal wildlife trade, timber trafficking, and hazardous waste dumping, represent some of the fastest growing, most profitable, and poorly enforced illegal activities perpetrated by both international corporations and organized crime. Claiming that states and territories’ very existence is threatened by climate change and that environmental harm disproportionately afflicts developing nations, the poor, and minorities, the essays demand a new perspective. The approach proposed, called eco-global criminology, proposes integrating local wisdom with expert solutions to these borderless ailments, using tailored policing based on multilateral treaties and law enforcement.
Sources:
Eco-Crime and Justice: Essays on Environmental Crime, edited by Kristiina Kangaspunta and Ineke Haen Marshall, UNICRI
http://www.freedomfromfearmagazine.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=243:eco-crime-and-justice-essays-on-environmental-crime&catid=46:frontpage-books&Itemid=180

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April 2010

The Chaos Caused by the Volcanic Eruption in Iceland Revealed Lack of a Global Framework to Deal with Large-Scale Air Traffic Disturbances
The total or partial closure of 313 European airports (75% of the European airport network) in the period April 15-21 due to the ash cloud following the eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano affected over 100,000 flights, 10 million passengers, and loss of €2.5 billion ($3.31 billion). The concurrent decision-making chaos exposed the lack of an adequate international framework and coordination strategy to deal with such large-scale disruptions (natural or manmade). The event might lead to new EU agreements such as the “Single European Sky” project, establishment of a single air network management solution, harmonization of all aviation-related national regulations, and eventually the creation of a global response strategy. The number and scale of air traffic disruptions could increase due to a combination of increasing travel and the larger scale of unexpected natural (and/or manmade) events as climate change continues.
Sources:
Europe scales down response to ash cloud
http://euobserver.com/9/29892/?rk=1
The impact of the volcanic ash cloud crisis on the air transport industry. Information Note to the Commission. SEC(2010) 533
http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/kallas/headlines/news/2010/04/doc/information_note_volcano_crisis.pdf
Will Global Warming Make Iceland's Volcanoes Angry?
http://news.discovery.com/earth/will-global-warming-make-icelands-volcanoes-angry.html

International Legal Frameworks Needed for Cybersecurity
After land, sea, air, and space, cyberspace became the “fifth battlespace” on the agenda of security experts. The next ‘Pearl Harbor’ is likely to be a cyberattack, says CIA director Leon Panetta. The disruption of critical infrastructure such as water or electricity by cyberattacks in an IT-dependent world calls for exceptional strategies. “A new legal and policy framework is needed for addressing cybersecurity challenges”, noted Lt. General Keith A. Alexander, nominee to head the Pentagon’s new CyberCommand in testimony before the U.S. Congress, April 15, 2010. Some experts identify three levels of severity for cybersecurity: cybercrime, cyberespionage and reconnaissance, and cyber-leveraged war. There are documented massive cyberespionage schemes such as the one managed from China against several countries (including India and Pakistan). Additionally, electromagnetic pulses could be used for destroying critical infrastructure (see item International Standards Needed to Reduce Hi-tech SIMAD Threats in May 2009 environmental security report.)
Efforts to improve managing cyber-leveraged war, so that damage is contained and reduced, include NATO’s recent gathering of top cyber-minds to address the evolution of conflict in an Internet-dependent world, and National Security Agency and other cyber security experts' participation in the Cyber Defense Exercise (CDX) hosted by Lockheed Martin - Greenbelt (for the eighth year). The European Commission will conduct a feasibility study for creating a body that would assess trends in cybercrime across the EU and facilitate harmonization of related legislation among the different legal systems of the 27 EU countries (while the EU states have yet to ratify the Convention on Cybercrime adopted in 2001). In the meantime, there are proposals to include in the WEEE directive (for waste electrical and electronic equipment) provisions to facilitate protection of data stored on discarded devices.
Sources:
NATO's cyber-brains gaze at the future of war
http://www.spacewar.com/reports/NATOs_cyber-brains_gaze_at_the_future_of_war_999.html
Shadows in the Cloud: An investigation into cyber espionage 2.0
http://www.infowar-monitor.net/2010/04/shadows-in-the-cloud-an-investigation-into-cyber-espionage-2-0-2/
LockMart Supports National Security Agency's 2010 Cyber Defense Exercise
http://www.spacewar.com/reports/LockMart_Supports_National_Security_Agency_2010_Cyber_Defense_Exercise_999.html
EU to set up anti-cybercrime body
http://euobserver.com/9/29946/?rk=1

Proliferation of Sensors in and on Oceans Requires an International Legal Framework, but Might Affect Freedom to Conduct Ocean Research
The Argo Project is an array of 3,255 (as of March 23, 2010) free-floating seawater quality monitoring devices supported by 46 nations. It operates in the framework of WMO (World Meteorological Organization) Integrated Global Observing Systems since 2007, and contributes to the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) with Guidelines adopted in June 2008. There are controversies over information collection systems and sometimes violations of exclusive economic zones. The results of these controversies might determine the evolution of the debate among scientists and diplomats over freedom of conducting oceanic research. Deploying new technologies on the high seas is sometimes seen as conflicting with regulations protecting coastal states’ sovereign rights. The 43rd session of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Executive Council meeting in June is expected to address issues of relevance to the “soft-law guidelines or codes of conduct” and the legal regulations affecting the scientific work of several environmental early warning systems.
Sources:
Climate Change and Guidelines for Argo Profiling Float Deployment on the High Seas http://www.asil.org/insights100408.cfm
IOC/EC-XLIII 43rd Session of IOC Executive Council, 8 - 16 June 2010, Paris, France http://www.ioc-unesco.org/index.php?option=com_oe&task=viewEventRecord&eventID=521

Draft International Standards for Measuring Greenhouse Gas Emissions for Cities
The Draft International Standard for Determining Greenhouse Gas Emissions for Cities is setting a common framework for calculating the emission amounts of greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6). The computation is done on a per capita basis, allowing comparison and analysis among cities. Measurements are now completed for more than 40 cities, with the aim of completing it for all world cities. The Draft was launched by UNEP, UN-HABITAT, and the World Bank. It is now open for public comment.
Sources:
Cities Get Common Standard for Measuring Greenhouse Gas Emissions http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=617&ArticleID=6508&l=en&t=long
Draft International Standard for Determining Greenhouse Gas Emissions for Cities http://www.unep.org/urban_environment/PDFs/InternationalStd-GHG.pdf
UN-HABITAT Annual Reporthttp://www.unhabitat.org/pmss/listItemDetails.aspx?publicationID=2938
Executive Order 13514—Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/pdf/E9-24518.pdf

Environmental Courts and Tribunals Are Rapidly Increasing Around the World
According to an international study by the World Resources Institute (WRI), there are about 350 environmental courts in 41 countries. About half of them were created over the last five years, increasing public access to environment-specialized legal systems. The increasing number of courts dedicated to environmental issues should lead to accelerated changes in environmental lawsuits, creating precedents around the world. It reinforces the trends toward improved enforcement and applications of the “polluter pays” principle.
Surces:
Environmental Courts Becoming More Popular Worldwide, but Steps Needed for Improvement http://www.wri.org/press/2010/04/news-release-environmental-courts-becoming-more-popular-worldwide-steps-needed-improve
Creating and Improving Environmental Courts and Tribunals http://www.accessinitiative.org/resource/greening-justice

Morocco Adopts First National Earth Charter in the Arab World and Africa
The National Charter for Environment and Sustainable Development adopted by the Kingdom of Morocco represents the first such commitment in Africa and the Arab World. The Charter sets a framework for future regulations for natural resources, the environment, and sustainability policy. It was launched at the celebration of Earth Day’s 40th anniversary, April 22, 2010.
Source:
Morocco's National Earth Charter a First for the Arab World http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/apr2010/2010-04-22-01.html
Morocco Announces National Earth Charter for 40th Anniversary of Earth Day http://earthday.net/blog/2010/03/19/morocco-announces-national-earth-charter-for-40th-anniversary-of-earth-day/

Technological Advances with Environmental Security Implications

Increasing Energy Efficiency and Green Technologies

Genetically Modified Virus Claimed to Separate Hydrogen from Water
Scientists at MIT have used a genetically modified virus to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen, similar to photosynthesis.
Sources:
MIT researchers harness viruses to split water http://web.mit.edu/press/2010/virus-water.html
MIT Trains Viruses to Split Water, Make Stored Solar Power http://www.dailytech.com/MIT+Trains+Viruses+to+Split+Water+Make+Stored+Solar+Power/article18119.htm

Fiber Bundles Claimed Safe for Hydrogen Storage and Cuts Costs and Weight
Israeli scientists working for C. En Ltd. in Geneva claim that their new hydrogen-filled capillary fiber bundles provide safe storage of hydrogen for less than half the space and weight of tanks installed in existing hydrogen cars. A unit containing 4 million of the hair-thin capillaries will store enough gas for 400 km of auto travel, according to the researchers.
Sources:
Hydrogen still in the eco-car race http://www.physorg.com/news190778451.html
C.En Company http://www.cenh2go.com/

Fiber-based Solar Cells Decrease Cost and Double Output
Wake Forest University’s Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials has announced a new technology that inexpensively produces solar cells with double the power output of other designs. The cells are based on microscopic plastic optical fibers, enhanced with red dye or other absorbent. This raises the prospect of shipping the untreated cells to less developed areas for finishing with dye from pokeberries, which thrive under sub-optimal conditions, and where costs for such a processing facility would be low. The technology has been licensed to FiberCell Inc. in Winston-Salem NC.
Sources:
A brighter idea. Wake Forest receives patent for new fiber solar cells http://www.wfu.edu/wowf/2010/20100407.solar.php
Red dye from pokeberries holds secret to affordable solar power http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=15962.php

New Materials May Be Solar Cell Breakthrough
Two technologies developed by Prof. Benoît Marsan and colleagues at the Chemistry Dept. of the Université du Québec à Montréal may allow commercialization of the Grätzel dye-synthesized solar cell, a promising design based on the principle of photosynthesis, but whose application has been blocked by having a corrosive, opaque electrolyte and an expensive platinum electrode. Prof. Marsan's variant uses a newly formulated transparent and neutral electrolyte and an electrode coated with relatively inexpensive cobalt sulphide.
Sources:
Researchers solve two 20-year old problems that could transform solar cell technology
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=15659.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nanowerk%2FagWB+%28Nanowerk+Nanotechnology+News%29CoS Supersedes Pt as Efficient Electrocatalyst for Triiodide Reduction in Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ja905970y
An organic redox electrolyte to rival triiodide/iodide in dye-sensitized solar cells http://www.nature.com/nchem/journal/v2/n5/abs/nchem.610.html

Landslide-Predicting Sensors to Be Developed
Dr. Kirk Martinez, from Southampton University’s School of Electronics and Computer Science, and Prof. Jane Hart, of the School of Geography, are continuing to develop fist-sized sensors that will monitor such soil parameters as light, conductivity, tilt, temperature, and movement, and transmit the data by radio, enabling the prediction of imminent landslides.
Source:
New sensors to predict landslides http://www.soton.ac.uk/mediacentre/news/2010/apr/10_40.shtml

Plastic Waste Yields Porous Paving for Walks and Drives
Civil and Environmental Engineering Prof. Naji Khoury of Temple Univ. has developed a technique for turning plastic bottle waste and coarse aggregate into a cement-like material, Plastisoil™, that he says is both cheaper and more energy-sparing than concrete or asphalt and that also has the advantage of being porous, so that rainwater drains through it. It also, of course, disposes of plastic bottles (30,000 per ton).
Source:
Cement-like creation could help the environment http://www.physorg.com/news190999420.html

Nanoporous Alumina Membranes Useful for EHS Applications
A paper with senior author Dr. Roger Narayan, of the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering, Univ. of North Carolina and NC State University, reports the use of atomic layer deposition onto nanoporous alumina membranes to produce a material for use in a variety of medical and environmental health applications; e.g., water purification using a zinc-oxide-coated membrane able to neutralize E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus.
Sources:
Incorporating biofunctionality into nanomaterials for medical, health devices http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=15441.php
Atomic layer deposition-based functionalization of materials for medical and environmental health applications http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/368/1917/2033

Updates on Previously Identified Issues

Advancements on Denuclearization
The new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) signed by the U.S. and Russia (together holding more than 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons) requires each to reduce their strategic nuclear arsenal to 1,550 deployed warheads (from the present 2,200-weapon limit) and to 800 launchers within seven years. The Treaty will enter into force after being approved by the two countries’ legislatures. Critics note that the treaty doesn’t address the disposal of the nuclear material contained in the weapons. Also, the newly released U.S. Nuclear Posture Review aims to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in the U.S. national security strategy. A two-day nuclear security summit held in Washington DC, gathering leaders of 47 nations, addressed measures to secure vulnerable nuclear materials by 2014 and avoid nuclear terrorism.
Egypt plans to increase pressure for beginning negotiations before 2012 for establishing a nuclear weapon-free Middle East. The Malaysian Strategic Trade Bill vigorously enforces legislation concerning illicit trafficking of WMD materials or technology. Meanwhile, in India, the proposed law limiting the liability to foreign nuclear power companies in the event of an accident triggers worries over potential lax safety standards and nuclear disaster. [Related item: Australia to Propose Panel to Advance Work for the NPT Review in 2010 in June 2008 and other similar items in previous environmental security reports.]
Sources:
New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) http://www.state.gov/t/vci/trty/126118.htm
Nuclear Posture Review http://www.defense.gov/npr/
Nuke-Free Middle East Needed to Resolve Iran Dispute, Egypt Asserts http://gsn.nti.org/gsn/nw_20100428_9811.php
Malaysia Pledges to Carry Out WMD Smuggling Penalties http://gsn.nti.org/gsn/nw_20100415_4276.php
Controversial Indian law on nuclear liability spells disaster – activists http://www.alertnet.org/db/an_art/55867/2010/03/14-111827-1.htm

New Measures for Protecting the Marine Environment
The UK government has created the world's largest marine reserve (545,000 sq km) around the Chagos Islands, regarded as one of the world’s richest marine ecosystems.
The sixth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Nairobi Convention for the Protection, Management and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Western Indian Ocean adopted a 25-year program of action for efficient management of the marine and coastal environment in the larger Eastern and Southern African region, as well as a Protocol to the Convention considering new emerging issues, such as climate change and the need for an ecosystem-based management approach. [Related item: New Measure to Enforce Maritime Environmental Protection in March 2010 environmental security report.]
Sources:
UK sets up Chagos Islands marine reserve http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8599125.stm
Ministers Launch Rejuvenated Nairobi Convention to Protect the Western Indian Ocean's Environment
http://www.unep.org/environmentalgovernance/News/Press-Release/tabid/427/language/en-US/Default.aspx?DocumentID=620&ArticleID=6521&Lang=en

Genetic Patenting and GMO Face New Challenges
A National Research Council study on the impacts of GM crops on economic and environmental security found that at least nine species of weeds in the U.S. have developed resistance to glyphosate since the introduction of GM crops in 1996. Glyphosate is a major component in commercial herbicides and GM crops are designed to tolerate it. Insufficiently diverse farming practices and excessive reliance on a single technology could undermine the economic and environmental benefits of GMOs use. In the U.S., GM crops account for more than 80% of soybeans, corn, and cotton.
The first U.S. federal ruling declaring patents on genes invalid concerns the BRCA 1 and 2 genes (related to breast and ovarian cancers), and was made on the grounds that it is “a valuable scientific achievement … but …not …something for which they are entitled to a patent”. Approximately 2,000 human genes (20% of the human genome) are currently covered by patents, including those associated with certain degenerative disorders and cancers. The ruling may have broad implications for the validity of gene patents in general, including patents on GMOs. [Related item: International Biodiversity Meetings Make Decisions and Tougher Systems to Control GMO Suggested in March 2006 environmental security report.]
Sources:
Gene Patents Ruled Invalid http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/editors/24986/
Impact of Genetically Engineered Crops on Farm Sustainability in the United States http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12804

India Further Loosens Already Lax Rules on Waste Importing
Illegal waste shipping to India might worsen due to new amendments made by the Ministry of Environment and Forests to the Hazardous Wastes Rules. While previous rules allowed only ‘recyclers’ to bring in certain waste, the new amendments will also allow ‘traders’ to do so, making control and enforcement potentially more difficult. This could be an additional factor increasing India’s pollution; threatening its already precarious environment, health conditions, and falling water tables. [Related items: Hazardous Waste Disposal of Increasing Concern in September 2009 and other previous environmental security reports.]
Sources:
Is India a global trash can? http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Is-India-a-global-trash-can-/articleshow/5851954.cms
Got hazardous waste? Send it to India http://www.livemint.com/2010/04/25233450/Got-hazardous-waste-Send-it-t.html

Russia and Norway Agree on Maritime Delimitation of Disputed Arctic Territory
Norway and Russia reached agreement over the borders and use of a disputed territory of 175,000 square kilometers (108,740 sq miles) of Arctic shelf, concluding some 40 years of negotiations. The joint declaration signed on April 27, 2010 stipulates the maritime delimitation lines and creates cooperation opportunities for exploitation of the area’s rich natural resources. Some further technical details need to be worked out until the final treaty, which then will need to be ratified by the two countries’ parliaments. The agreement might also represent an important step forward in the multilateral negotiations concerning the Arctic territories. [Related items: Arctic Debates Continue in March 2010 and other items on this issue in previous environmental security reports.]
Sources:
Russia-Norway pact defuses Arctic tension http://euobserver.com/9/29958/?rk=1
Norway, Russia Strike Deal to Divide Arctic Undersea Territory http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/norway-russia-strike-deal-to-divide-arctic-undersea-territory/404939.html

Climate Change

Scientific Evidence and Natural Disasters
In March 2010, the combined global land and ocean surface temperature was the highest since record keeping began in 1880, according to NOAA and confirmed by NASA. NOAA found the combined global land and ocean average surface temperature 1.39ºF (0.77ºC) above the 20th century average, while NASA found the March combined average global land-surface air temperature a record 1.9ºF (1.05ºC) above the 20th century average.
Climate change and man-made CO2 emissions are changing ocean chemistry and marine ecosystems, reveal new studies. Ocean Acidification: A National Strategy to Meet the Challenges of a Changing Ocean by the National Research Council, warns that the level of ocean acidity is increasing at an unprecedented rate and since the ocean absorbs approximately a third of CO2 emissions, unless man-made CO2 emissions are substantially curbed or controlled by technological means, the ocean will continue to become more acidic. Meantime, global warming is changing oceans salinity, making some regions saltier, while other are getting fresher, according to research conducted by the Australian government’s research agency CSIRO Wealth from Oceans Flagship using data gathered by the global network of 3,200 Argo buoys.

Food and Water Security
Arab countries do not disclose enough information on their water out of concern that transparency could fuel unnecessary public concern and unrest,” noted Hosny Khordagui, Regional Program Director of the UNDP Water Governance Programme for Arab States http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/LDE6300FO.htm. According to the UNDP’s Arab Human Development Report, people in the Middle East and North Africa have access to an average of only 1,000 cubic meters of water a year, one-seventh the worldwide rate, which by 2025 might be further reduced to 460 cubic meters due to high population growth and the effects of climate change. Arable land is also expected to shrink due to climate change, further jeopardizing poor farmers’ livelihood and pushing people to move to overcrowded cities.
The worst drought in at least 50 years in southern China left tens of millions of people short of water and fuels disputes with countries that share the Mekong River, especially Thailand, over the role of Chinese dams in decreasing river flows. Some argue that more dams in China could help mitigate the Mekong’s seasonal variations by storing or releasing water as necessary.

Health
To celebrate World Health Day on April 7th, WHO and the Commonwealth Secretariat released publications that underline the linkages between urban health and climate change. “Why Urban Health Matters” notes that urban areas concentrate both emitters of greenhouse gases and people at risk from climate change impacts such as heat waves, water scarcity, increasing levels of air pollution, or rising sea levels. A discussion paper by the Commonwealth Secretariat, “The State of the Cities: Why, and how, the Commonwealth must address the challenge of sustainable urbanization”, stresses that climate change and slum-based poverty are exacerbated by today’s urban growth.

Melting Glaciers
Andean glaciers in Latin America lost more than 40% of their surface area between 1956 and 2006, according to a study to be published by Ecuadorean glaciologist Bolivar Cáceres.
In Europe, almost 90% of Austrian glaciers shrank in 2009, some by as much as 46 meters (150 feet), reports the Austrian Alpine Association.

Migration
WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran announced that WFP will step up its support to address the intense droughts in Niger, which are escalating the humanitarian crisis and are contributing to mass migration from rural to urban areas as well as to neighboring countries. In Southern Niger, the food crisis is estimated to be affecting 7.8 million people.
The flooding and landslides in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, killed over 200 people and greatly affected the impoverished communities. In response, authorities ordered the eviction of thousands of poor people from the favellas, despite their opposition and threats of revolt.

Adaptation
At the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR) Second Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), held April 14-16, 2010, in Nairobi, Kenya, African Ministers adopted the Programme of Action for the Implementation of the Africa Regional Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction (2006–2015) and a Ministerial Declaration. The Programme aims to mainstream risk reduction management and climate change adaptation as an integral part of sustainable development. The Ministerial Declaration calls on the AU Summit to make disaster risk reduction and adaptation to climate change a national education priority through integration into the educational system. The 2010 Economic Report on Africa, “Promoting High-level Sustainable Growth to Reduce Unemployment in Africa” warns that conflicts in the region will probably increase due to diminishing resources, and emphasizes the need for Africa to develop adaptation and mitigation strategies. Noting that the costs of adaptation and mitigation are beyond the means of African countries, the report calls on the international community to increase help for financing these strategies.
At the 16th summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), held April 8-9, 2010, in Hanoi, Viet Nam, under the theme “Towards the ASEAN Community: from vision to action”, the leaders released a joint statement calling for a legally binding global pact on climate change and urged richer nations to provide them with ‘scaled-up’ financial help to combat climate change. The development of an ASEAN action plan to better understand and respond to climate change is also considered.

Post-Copenhagen Negotiations
The first round of UN climate change negotiations since the Copenhagen conference was held in Bonn, April 9-11, 2010, with the main objective to agree on the organization and methods of work for 2010. More than 1,700 delegates attended from 175 countries. In order to advance the negotiations towards a treaty in Mexico, it was decided that, in addition to the negotiating sessions already scheduled for 2010, two additional meetings would be held of at least one week each, to take place between the 32nd session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC or FCCC) Convention subsidiary bodies—May 31-June 11, 2010, and the UN Climate Change Conference in Mexico— November 29-December 10, 2010.
In an effort to get developing countries on board for an international global warming deal, the U.S. State Department announced that countries opposing the Copenhagen accord will be denied climate change assistance from the promised $30 billion climate aid fund.
Sources:
Global Temperatures Last Month Broke Heat Records for March
http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/apr2010/2010-04-16-01.html
CO2 Emissions Causing Ocean Acidification to Progress at Unprecedented Rate
http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=12904
Oceans' Saltiness Reaching Extremes
http://news.discovery.com/earth/oceans-saltier-salinity-warming.html
Arab states urged to be open on water scarcity
http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/LDE6300FO.htm
Countries Blame China, Not Nature, for Water Shortage
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/02/world/asia/02drought.html?ref=world
World Health Day Website
http://www.who.int/world-health-day/2010/en/index.html
Why Urban Health Matters
http://www.who.int/world-health-day/2010/media/whd2010background.pdf
The State of the Cities
http://www.thecommonwealth.org/document/222182/the_state_of_the_cities.htm
Scientists investigate Ecuador's receding glaciers
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8629527.stm
WFP Steps Up Response to Growing Food Crisis in Niger
http://www.wfp.org/news/news-release/wfp-steps-response-growing-food-crisis-niger
Rio slum dwellers face forced eviction after landslides
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/apr/11/rio-brazil-slum-forced-evictions
African ministers adopt the extended Programme of Action
http://www.unisdr.org/news/v.php?id=13655
16th ASEAN Summit Website
http://asean2010.vn/asean_en/news/46
UNFCCC Parties Agree on Additional Meeting Sessions Before COP 16
http://climate-l.org/2010/04/12/unfccc-parties-agree-on-additional-meeting-sessions-before-cop-16/
US denies climate aid to countries opposing Copenhagen accord
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/apr/09/us-climate-aid

Global Climate Change Situation Room in Gimcheon, South Korea
The initial set of Bata collective intelligence software for the Global Climate Change Situation Room is planned to be installed in Gimcheon, South Korea during the last week in June. Initial staff training was conducted this month. International expert discussion groups are being established on climate science, energy, green technology, and policy integration to feed information to and be fed questions from the Situation Room. The Bata software development platform is available for viewing at http://www.new.webserver9.com/manage/node. Updates and improvements are ongoing. [Related item: Gimcheon, South Korea to Create a Global Climate Change Situation Room in August 2009 environmental security report]
Source:
Global Climate Change Situation Room – Bata software development platform http://www.new.webserver9.com/manage/node

Nanotechnology Safety Issues

Health Canada Seeks Comments on Nanomaterials Definition
Health Canada has developed an interim policy statement that establishes a working definition for nanomaterials, in order to provide a basis for applying current legislation and regulations to nanotechnology products. They are seeking informal feedback from international stakeholders; comments will be accepted until 31 August 2010.
Source: Interim Policy Statement on Health Canada's Working Definition for Nanomaterials
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/sr-sr/consult/_2010/nanomater/index-eng.php

First Sri Lankan Information Portal for Nanotechnology
The Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology Pvt. Ltd (SLINTEC) has announced the launch of the first Sri Lankan information portal for nanotechnology, <www.susnanotec.lk>, an interactive site that will act as an information hub for nanotechnology research in Sri Lanka. According to the announcement, "The purpose of the website [is] creating awareness on nanotechnology amongst students, educate potential investors and clients on the research being done, enable the government to measure the performance of funding, provide a forum for scientists to share their thoughts, attract potential human resources, satisfy public curiosity and aid business sector decision makers in their planning and evaluation of nanotechnology."
Source:
Pyxle Develops Nano-Based Information Portal for Sri Lanka
http://www.azonano.com/news.asp?newsID=16657 8.8.3

Two New Reports on Nanotech EHS
Two presentations from the German FramingNano Workshop in March 2010 are available:
• Key regulatory developments in the field of nanotechnology (24 slides), Dr. Hans-Jürgen Klockner, German Chemical Industry Association (VCI) (http://www.framingnano.eu/images/stories/german-workshop/3.pdf)
• Nanoscale Materials: a new challenge for toxicology (11 slides), Andreas Falk, BioNanoNet Forschungsgesellschaft mbH (http://www.framingnano.eu/images/stories/german-workshop/5.pdf)

Conference on The Global Regulation Of Nanotech to Be Held
A Conference On The Global Regulation Of Nanotechnologies will be held at the Northeastern Univ. School of Law in Boston MA on May 7-8, 2010. The announcement states its objectives: "…determining what is the applicable law, domestically and internationally, exploring what the regulatory framework should be, [and] proposing governance models to achieve stakeholders’ objective".
Source:
Global Regulation Of Nanotechnologies conference website http://www.northeastern.edu/law/academics/conferences/nano-conference/index.html

Reports and Information Suggested for Review

World Bank Development Indicators Database Available Free
The World Bank has made freely available online < http://data.worldbank.org/ > its databases of more than 2,000 indicators from countries around the world, many with historical data for 50 years. This includes a large section on the environment.
Source:
WDI http://data.worldbank.org/

Report Suggests New Approach to Technology Assessment
Reinventing Technology Assessment: A 21st Century Model, a report by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, looks at closing the gap between the rhetoric of “engaging the public” in S&T debate and practice. It provides a comprehensive overview of participatory technology assessment (pTA) and applications in the EU and U.S., and recommends creation of “an institutional network that can integrate public engagement into future technology assessment activities.”
Source:
Reinventing Technology Assessment: A 21st Century Model http://www.wilsoncenter.org/index.cfm?topic_id=1414&fuseaction=topics.event_summary&event_id=605820

Reports addressing the Link between Climate Change and Conflict
'Human Securitising' the Climate Security Debate, by Lorraine Elliott, is a working paper of the Asia Security Initiative Policy Series. It assesses the connection between climate change and national, regional and international security from a human security point of view. The recommendations basically advocate pro-active rather than reactive strategies based on vulnerability vs. risk and adaptation and social resilience vs. mitigation. In order to avoid conflict, scarce resource management should include equity provisions regarding those most vulnerable to environmental scarcities.
Climate Conflict: How Global Warming Threatens Security and What to Do about it, by Jeffrey Mazo from the IISS Environmental Security and Science Policy, provides a view of how climate changes affects security from a historical perspective. It points out that the most vulnerable countries are not necessarily the fragile states or those most affected physically by the effects of climate change, but those that fail to overcome cultural, social, political, and economic barriers to successful adaptation to a changing climate.
Sources:
'Human Securitising' the Climate Security Debate http://www.rsis.edu.sg/NTS/resources/research_papers/MacArthur_working_paper_Lorraine%20Elliott.pdf
Climate Conflict: how global warming threatens security and what to do about it - Launch http://www.iiss.org/whats-new/iiss-podcasts/adelphi-webcasts/climate-conflict/
Climate conflict: how global warming threatens security and what to do about it http://sustainablesecurity.org/article/climate-conflict-how-global-warming-threatens-security-and-what-do-about-it

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March 2010

UN Panel Meeting on World Water Day to Discuss How to Avoid Water Wars
The UN General Assembly held a high-level dialogue on World Water Day with three panels on: water related to the Millennium Development Goals; water, climate change and disasters; and water and peace and security. Since potential water wars could be triggered by combinations of climate change, population growth, rapid urbanization, and increasing inequalities between those who could and could not cope with water scarcity, several participants suggested that greater efforts by the international community to promote dialogues for equitable and sustainable use and management of transboundary rivers, lakes and aquifers are needed. It was also suggested that water issues be included on the agenda of the next session of the Conference of Parties (COP16) of the UNFCCC, to be held in Mexico at the end of the year, and that 2012 be declared the International Year of Water Diplomacy.
More people now die from contaminated and polluted water than from all forms of violence, including wars, notes the UNEP report, Sick Water? Some two million tons of waste, estimated to equal two or more billion tons of wastewater, is being discharged daily into rivers and seas, harming key ecosystems and human health. The report underlines the need for global and comprehensive water-related regulations and enforcement mechanisms, including international standards and guidelines for water and ecosystem quality management.
Sources:
Sustainable Management of Water Resources
http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs//2010/ga10925.doc.htm
World Water Day Website:
http://www.unwater.org
Time to Cure Global Tide of Sick Water
http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=617&ArticleID=6504&l=en

Nanomaterials Guidelines Adopted by 53 African Countries
Representatives of 53 African governments attending the African regional meeting on Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management adopted a non-binding resolution on handling manufactured nanomaterials. The resolution calls for: 1) a ban on shipment of wastes containing nanomaterials to countries that lack capacity for adequately managing them; 2) the establishment and implementation of legal frameworks for the safe production, use, transport, and disposal of nanomaterials; 3) a health assessment of people exposed to nanomaterials; 4) the establishment of partnerships for capacity building related to nanotechnology. In the preamble to the International Conference on Chemical Management focusing on nanotechnologies and manufactured nanomaterials, to be held in 2012, the delegates suggested that the report should address all the aspects relative to nanotechnology and safe handling of nanomaterials throughout their life cycles and application of the ‘no data, no market’ principle prior to commercialization. [Related items: Nanotechnology Safely Issues in the monthly environmental security reports.]
Sources:
African Resolution Urges Nations Worldwide to Ensure Safe Handling of Nanomaterials
http://www.merid.org/nanodev/more.php?id=2459
CIEL welcomes and supports African resolution on nanomaterials
http://www.ciel.org/Chemicals/African_Nano_17Feb10.html

UN Economic Commission for Europe Adopts Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Regulations
The UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) adopted the first international technical regulation on safety for fully electric and hybrid cars, within the 1958 UNECE framework. The Regulation will ensure that cars with a high voltage electric power train, such as hybrid and fully electric vehicles, are as safe as conventional cars. These standards on manufacturing and marketing are expected to increase sales and will apply not only in the EU, but in a number of other markets, such as South Korea, Japan, and Russia. Mutual recognition of approvals among contracting parties of the 1958 agreement will be possible as soon as the Regulation is applied.
Sources:
Car safety: European Commission welcomes international agreement on electric and hybrid cars
http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/10/260&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en

Iran and Qatar Sign Environmental MOU
Qatar and Iran have signed a memorandum of understanding regarding preservation of the environment. The agreement covers managing green reserves and various flora and fauna aspects, as well as the environmental management of coastal areas, desertification control, and know-how exchange. Qatar has already undertaken several environmental projects, including a green convention center in Doha and an agreement between the Doha Bank and UNESCO to "Green the Middle East". [Related item: Jordan Armed Forces Upgrade, Part of Global Warming Debate in the February 2010 environmental security report.]
Sources:
Iran and Qatar Align to Help the Environment
http://www.greenprophet.com/2010/02/28/17972/qatar-iran-environment

Thailand, Other Asian Countries, May Tighten Environmental Regulations
A Thai court has sided with the country’s growing green movement and suspended $12 billion in industrial investments until their environmental impacts can be properly assessed. The government hopes to set up a new environmental monitoring agency within five months to quickly assess and approve new projects. Environmental activists have similarly increased their pressures in Indonesia, Vietnam, and China over the past few years. [Related item: International Lawsuits for Environmental Crime Proliferate in January 2010 environmental security report.]
Sources:
Thailand Tightens Environmental Regulation
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704182004575056421383885014.html

Technological Advances with Environmental Security Implications

Desalination Reverse Osmosis Improved by Ion Concentration Polarization
Sung Jae Kim and Prof. Jongyoon Han of MIT’s Dept. of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and colleagues in Korea, have developed a new technique – ion concentration polarization – which promises to avoid two of reverse osmosis's problems: large power consumption and membrane fouling. The system is based on using microfluidics fabrication methods to produce microscopic filtration cells that could be assembled into an array with 1,600 units on an 8-inch-diameter wafer, capable of producing about 15 liters of water per hour. Since the system removes only salts and larger particles, it may need to be supplemented by a conventional filtration component (e.g. charcoal) for certain types of pollutants.
Sources:
A system that's worth its salt: New approach to water desalination could lead to small, portable units
http://www.physorg.com/news188399888.html
Direct seawater desalination by ion concentration polarization
http://www.nature.com/nnano/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/nnano.2010.34.html

New Detection and Cleanup Techniques

New Polymer Fights Both Biological and Chemical Toxins.
A team led by Dr. Alan Russell of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Univ. of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, claims synthesis of a single, multifunctional polymer material that can decontaminate both biological and chemical toxins, such as are used in weapons. According to an announcement, it comprises a “polyurethane fiber mesh containing enzymes that lead to the production of bromine or iodine, which kill bacteria, as well as chemicals that generate compounds that detoxify organophosphate nerve agents.”
Sources:
Multifunctional polymer neutralizes both biological and chemical weapons
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-03/uops-mpn031810.phpProject Developing Sensors for Engineered Nanoparticles
According to Nanowerk News, Prof. Omowunmi Sadik, director of SUNY's Binghamton University Center for Advanced Sensors and Environmental Systems, is leading research on developing sensors that will detect and identify engineered nanoparticles. This should advance understanding of the risks associated with the environmental release and transformation of these particles, as well as naturally occurring cell particles.
Sources:
Chemist monitors nanotechnology's environmental impact
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=15415.phpNew Material Will Aid Radioactive Cleanup
Mercouri Kanatzidis, at the Argonne National Laboratory, and Nan Ding, a chemist at Northwestern University, report developing a new material, composed of metal sulfides, that binds radioactive cesium isotope ions to sulfur atoms inside its crystalline structure, giving it the ability to aid clean-up at radioactively contaminated sites.
Sources:
Snag radioactive waste like a Venus flytrap
http://futurity.org/science-technology/snag-radioactive-waste-like-a-venus-flytrap/
Selective incarceration of caesium ions by Venus flytrap action of a flexible framework sulfide
http://www.nature.com/nchem/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/nchem.519.htmlGenetically Engineered Tobacco Plant May Clear Polluted Water
Dr. Pascal M.W. Drake from the Centre for Infection at St. George's University of London and his team claim success in genetically engineering a strain of tobacco that produces an antibody to microcystin-LR (MC-LR), an environmental toxin pollutant produced by a species of cyanobacteria that makes water unsafe for human use. The authors claim that this plant could serve as a major tool for helping keep water sources safe to use, especially in developing nations.
Sources:
Genetically engineered tobacco plant cleans up environmental toxin
http://www.physorg.com/news186660152.html
Generation of transgenic plants expressing antibodies to the environmental pollutant microcystin-LR
http://www.fasebj.org/cgi/content/abstract/24/3/882?maxtoshow=&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=tobacco&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&volume=24&issue=3&resourcetype=HWCIT

Increasing Energy Efficiency Technologies

Advances in Generating Electricity from the Body
The Parametric Frequency Increased Generators (PFIGs) developed by researchers of the Univ. of Michigan’s Engineering Research Center for Wireless Integrated Microsystems are reported to be able to generate 0.5 milliwatts from typical vibrations in the human body. Both piezoelectric and electromagnetic induction types have been tested and are claimed to be more efficient than previous devices with vibrations that are non-periodic and occur at low frequencies. [Related item: “Energy Harvesting” Offers Possibilities for Environment-sparing Power in December 2009 environmental security report.]
Sources:
Mini generators make energy from random ambient vibrations
http://www.physorg.com/news188569711.html

Biofuels Production from Sunlight and CO2
Prof. David Wendell and colleagues at the Univ. of Cincinnati describe a design for foam loaded with natural (e.g. algal) enzymes that produce sugars from sunlight and carbon dioxide. The sugars can then be converted into biofuels. The process is more efficient than the natural one since all the incoming solar energy is used for the conversion, without part being diverted to support a living organism.
Meantime, Joule Biotechnologies, Inc. of Cambridge, MA announced arrangements for building its first pilot plant, in Leander TX, for developing and testing its continuous process system that uses genetically engineered organisms to directly convert sunlight and CO2 into ethanol or other fuels. It claims that its lab-scale ethanol tests have already reached productivity rates exceeding 6,000 gallons/acre/year.
Sources:
Frogs, Foam and Fuel: Researchers Convert Solar Energy to Sugars
http://www.physorg.com/news187951045.html
Joule Biotechnologies Secures Pilot Site for Renewable Solar Fuel
http://joulebio.com/news/2010/joule-biotechnologies-secures-pilot-site-renewable-solar-fuel

New Developments in Hydrogen Production
Several new techniques have been added to the published set of tools for economical production of hydrogen; e.g. as input to fuel cells. Sun Catalytix of Cambridge, MA has been awarded $4 million through ARPA-E for work on its artificial photosynthesis based on a cobalt-phosphate catalyst that converts water and carbon dioxide into hydrogen and oxygen. The laboratory of Prof. Craig Hill at Emory Univ. has announced the fastest homogeneous carbon-free molecular water oxidation catalyst (WOC) yet created, based on cobalt. Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison geologist and crystal specialist Huifang Xu and colleagues have designed “a simple and cost-effective technology for direct water splitting that may generate hydrogen fuels by scavenging waste energy, such as noise or stray vibrations from the environment”, according to the developers. The new piezoelectric device uses zinc oxide and barium titanate nanofibers placed in water. Dr. Di Zhang, of Shanghai Jiao-Tong University, and collaborators have embedded a nitrogen-doped titanium dioxide catalyst in a complex physical structure modeled on natural plant leaves’ micro-architecture to produce, “enhanced light-harvesting and photocatalytic hydrogen evolution activities”.
Sources:
Catalyst could power homes on a bottle of water, produce hydrogen on-site (w/ Video)
http://www.physorg.com/news187031401.html
Water oxidation advance boosts potential for solar fuel
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=15268.php
Scavenging energy waste to turn water into hydrogen fuel
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=15264.php
Nanotechnology artificial leaves for hydrogen production
http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=15381.php
Light Harvesting: Artificial Inorganic Leafs for Efficient Photochemical Hydrogen Production Inspired by Natural Photosynthesis (Adv. Mater. 9/2010)
http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/123301807/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0 (Requires cookie download permission.)

Carbon Nanotubes Yield Threefold Increase in Thermocell Efficiency
Dr. Ray Baughman, director of the Alan G. MacDiarmid NanoTech Institute at the Univ. of Texas at Dallas, and an international team of collaborators, report a way to use carbon nanotubes in large thermocells to generate electricity from heat at about 60% of the cost per watt of existing solar cells. [Related item: Quantum Dots Offer New Possibilities for Energy from Waste Heat in November 2009 environmental security report.]
Sources:
Nanotube Thermocells Hold Promise as Energy Source
http://www.physorg.com/news186409698.html
Harvesting Waste Thermal Energy Using a Carbon-Nanotube-Based Thermo-Electrochemical Cell
http://www.me.gatech.edu/nest/images/nl903267n.pdf

Updates on Previously Identified Issues

New Measure to Enforce Maritime Environmental Protection
The Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) 60th session held March 22-26, 2010, made further steps to strengthen maritime environmental regulations, such as:

  1. adopted amendments to the MARPOL Convention to formally establish a North American Emission Control Area in which emissions of sulphur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and particulate matter from ships will be subject to more stringent controls than the limits that apply globally—expected to enter into force on August 1, 2011
  2. adopted a new MARPOL regulation to protect the Antarctic from pollution by heavy grade oils—expected to enter into force on August 1, 2011
  3. worked on developing guidelines related to safe and environmentally sound ship recycling, and agreed on the need to develop guidance concerning the recycling of flag-less and non-Party ships by Parties to the Convention—progress to be reported to MEPC 61
  4. agreed that the discharge requirements for the Wider Caribbean Region Special Area under MARPOL Annex V Regulations for the prevention of pollution by garbage from ships are to take effect on May 1, 2011
  5. prepared draft text on mandatory requirements for the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) for new vessels and on the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) for all ships in operation; but negotiations continue on details, including target dates and reduction rates
  6. in order to advance work on measures to regulate and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from international shipping, the Committee decided to establish an intersessional Working Group on technical and operational measures to increase the energy efficiency of ships and an Expert Group to assess the impact of various market-based instruments for international maritime transport—both to report to the MEPC 61st session, to be held in September 2010.

[Related items: Tougher Global Limits Imposed on Air Pollution from Large Ships in October 2008 and other previous environmental security reports.]
Source:
IMO environment Committee makes progress. MEPC – 60th session: 22-26 March, 2010
http://www.imo.org/Newsroom/mainframe.asp?topic_id=1859&doc_id=12724

European Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators to Become Operational in March 2011
The new European Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) will complement and coordinate the work of National Regulatory Authorities, supporting the liberalization of the energy markets and the creation of European network rules. While encouraging international cooperation and integration to achieve energy security and combat climate change, the agency might restrict national policymaking, as its decisions will be binding. Its tasks involve advancing green energy development policies (potentially including a European ‘supergrid’.) The Agency will open in March 2011, in Ljubljana, Slovenia. [Related item: European Climate and Energy Package Formally Adopted in April 2009 environmental security report.]
Sources:
European energy agency could form super-regulator
http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/mar/29/european-commission-energy-regulator
Ljubljana designated as seat of the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators
http://www.eumonitor.net/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=141533&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0

New UN Satellite Standards to Help in Natural Disaster Situations
The UN International Telecommunication Union (ITU) approved a set of new recommendations for radio-communication standards for satellite services in case of natural disasters. They refer to radio frequencies that can be used by both fixed-satellite service (FSS) and mobile-satellite service (MSS) systems for facilitating emergency and disaster relief operations. The ITU calls on the international community, policymakers, and service providers to further enhance efforts for developing robust and comprehensive systems for early warning, relief, and mitigation in case of emergencies and disasters at international, regional, and national levels. [Related item: Increased Use of Space Technology for Monitoring Environmental Events in September 2008 environmental security report.]
Sources:
New ITU standards enhance satellite communications for emergencies
http://www.itu.int/newsroom/press_releases/2010/13.html

Dialogues for Creating a Northeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone
Representatives of the Japanese and Republic of Korea parliaments held the first in a series of regional parliamentary dialogues for creating a Northeast Asian Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone. The joint declaration calls on the governments of the Republic of Korea and Japan to advance the proposal at the May 2010 Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference. The subject was also informally discussed by the Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND) with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and with government officials of Japan, Korea, and the United States. [Related item: Entire Southern Hemisphere Covered by Nuclear-Free Zone Treaties in August 2009 environmental security report.]
In the meantime, Australia and Japan submitted a proposal for the NPT Review Conference containing 16 nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation measures for achieving a world without nuclear weapons and a successful outcome at the NPT review conference. [Related item: Australia to Propose Panel to Advance Work for the NPT Review in 2010 in June 2008 and other similar items in previous environmental security reports.]
Sources:
Joint Statement by Parliamentarians of Japan and the Republic of Korea toward the Denuclearization of Northeast Asia
http://www.gsinstitute.org/pnnd/docs/02_28_10_Japan-ROK_Statement.pdf
Treaty on the Northeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (tentative translation)
http://www.gsinstitute.org/pnnd/docs/NEA-NWFZ.pdf
Australia, Japan Submit Disarmament Proposals For NPT Review Conference
http://gsn.nti.org/gsn/nw_20100324_4743.php

New Measures to Continue the Fight against Biodiversity Loss
The summit of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) decided to include several reptiles and amphibians in its endangered species trade list—some species of iguanas, an entire genus of tree frogs from Central America, and Kaiser’s newt salamander from Iran. In the meantime, the EU, admitting to have missed the target of stopping biodiversity loss by the end of 2010, decided to set two new targets: a mid-term one that all species loss within the EU be ended by 2020, and a long-term target to protect and restore all ecosystems by 2050 to prevent future losses. [Related item: International Year of Biodiversity is 2010 and Convention on Biological Diversity COP10 to Meet in Japan This Year in January 2010 environmental security report.]
Sources:
More terrestrial fauna placed under CITES
http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=617&ArticleID=6506&l=en
'We failed' on species extinction, admits EU
http://euobserver.com/9/29685/?rk=1

Two New Pesticides Added to the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Watch List
Endosulfan and azinphos-methyl were added to the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade watch list by the Chemical Review Committee. Endosulfan is a persistent organic pollutant (POP), while azinphos-methyl is derived from nerve agents developed during World War II. Both pesticides have been linked to reproductive and developmental damage in humans and animals. [Related item: New Compounds Considered under the Stockholm and Rotterdam Conventions in October 2008.]
Sources:
New Chemicals Recommended for Listing Under the Rotterdam Convention
http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=617&ArticleID=6503&l=en

Factors to Consider in Establishing and Operating Marine Protected Areas
Although the number of marine protected areas increased over the past years, the world is still far from the commitment that by 2012, 10%-30% of waters will be protected. Scientists now warn that in order for the protection to be efficient, marine protected areas, which currently limit fishing in 1.6% of the waters claimed by countries, need to be located in the right spots. [Related items: World Database on Marine Protected Areas in June 2009 and “Roving” Marine Protected Areas as Climate Change Affects Migration in March 2008.]
Sources:
Placement of marine reserves is key. Focusing on the heaviest-fished areas can help meet conservation goals
http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/56511/title/Placement_of_marine_reserves_is_key

Arctic Debates Continue
As foreign ministers of five Arctic states—Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the U.S.—met in Chelsea, Quebec, on March 29, 2010, states member of the Arctic Council that were left out of the talks (Iceland, Sweden, and Finland) along with various northern aboriginal groups publicly expressed their frustration. Although the outcomes of the meeting were not available at the time of this writing, there are speculations that in view of some military strategies calling for measures to ensure that the Arctic remains free of nuclear weapons, Canada might declare the Northwest Passage a nuclear-free-zone.
The Russian Security Council announced that over the next 10-15 years, Russia might face serious national security problems as melting permafrost—that covers roughly 60% of Russian land—could jeopardize important infrastructure, including pipelines, railways, roads, and several urban areas. [Related items: Arctic Opens to International Commercial Use in January 2010 and other items on this issue in previous environmental security reports.]
Sources:
Canada's 'Arctic Summit' highlights global tensions, competing interests
http://www.canada.com/news/Canada-Arctic-Summit-highlights-global-tensions-competing-interests/2736963/story.html
Medvedev says that Russia must push its claim to Arctic resources
http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/100317/world/eu_russia_arctic_claim
National security challenged by Arctic climate change. BarentsObserver, 2010-03-23
http://www.barentsobserver.com/national-security-challenged-by-arctic-climate-change.4762526-58932.html
Arms Control Advocates Call for Nuke-Free Arctic Zone
http://gsn.nti.org/gsn/nw_20100310_5264.php

Climate Change

Scientific Evidence and Natural Disasters
Global temperatures have risen steadily since the 1970s, reveals the ‘Current GISS Global Surface Temperature Analysis’ by the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS). Comparing the global surface and ocean temperature changes, researchers conclude that global temperature continued to rise at a rate of 0.15-0.20ºC per decade, despite large year-to-year fluctuations associated with the El Niño-La Niña cycle.
Australia’s temperatures rose 0.7ºC (0.4ºF) over the past 50 years, with warming occurring across the country, with the last decade being the hottest on record, reveals the “State of The Climate" report by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). The report also shows that sea levels rose 7-10 millimeters (0.3-0.4 inches) per year around Australia’s north and west, while rainfall patterns varied sharply among regions. The past southern hemisphere summer was 0.2ºC (0.32ºF) warmer than the previous high in 1997-1998, reaching an average of about 29.6ºC (85.3ºF).
Severe droughts affecting some East and Southeast Asian countries caused water levels of rivers and reservoirs to drop at dangerous levels. China’s State Commission of Disaster Relief announced that the worst drought in Southwest China in 60 years is affecting 51 million people and is having a devastating effect on regional power supply and farming. In the Philippines, what seems to be the worst drought since 1998 affects 23 provinces. In Vietnam, drought dried up riverbeds and aggravated saline water intrusion into coastal areas, threatening the country’s southern Mekong Delta. Thai Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation announced that nearly 4 million people in some 36 out of Thailand’s 76 provinces have been affected by drought since November.
CO2 levels rose to a median 393.71 parts per million in the first two weeks of March, from 393.17 ppm in the same period of 2009, and the increase seems accelerating, reveal new measures at Norway’s Zeppelin station on the Arctic Svalbard archipelago. Similarly, a 2009 study of the ocean off Africa indicated CO2 levels in the atmosphere were at their highest in 2.1 million years.

Food and Water Security
The multiple crises in the Arab world, exacerbated by the effects of climate change, might increase the number of emergency situations, requiring food and water distribution to millions of people, warned officials attending the third conference of humanitarian organisations in the member states of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC). Similarly, the UNEP report “Environment Outlook for the Arab Region: Environment for Development and Human Well-being,” compiled at the request of the Council of Arab Ministers Responsible for the Environment, outlines the multiple challenges facing the Arab region, ranging from climate change and food insecurity to decreasing water availability and unemployment. Highlighting that the region is one of the most water-scarce in the world, the report notes that biofuels and food security are key emerging and intertwined challenges facing the region. The region is predicted to be among the hardest hit by the potential direct and indirect climate change impacts, including: loss of coastal zones; more severe droughts and desertification; increased groundwater salinity; and a surge in epidemics and infectious diseases.
Experts warn that unless swift action is taken to improve water management, Lebanon might lack freshwater by 2015, due to the interplay of several factors, including: the 1975-1990 civil war and years of political unrest, water rights disputes with Israel, weak water management, and inappropriate infrastructure, exacerbated by a growing population. Additionally, some transboundary rivers are not exploited due to their strategic locations—such as the Nahr al-Kabeer and Orontes shared by Lebanon and Syria, and the Wazzani and Hasbani shared with Israel.
The report “An Overview of the Food Security Situation in Eastern Africa” by the UN Economic Commission for Africa’s (UNECA) Sub-Regional Office for Eastern Africa (SRO-EA) is an assessment of food security-related initiatives, plans, and strategies in the SRO-EA mandate area. Describing the status of food security in six specific Eastern African countries (Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo), it concludes that East Africa is the sub-region in Africa most affected by food insecurity. Recommendations include: increase investments in the agricultural sector to at least 10% of national budget; promote domestic and regional trade of agricultural products; and implement targeted input subsidies programs to enhance production and productivity.

Health
The WHO and UNDP has launched the first global project on public health adaptation to climate change. It involves a series of pilot projects that will seek to increase the adaptive capacity of national health system institutions. The projects will be undertaken by Ministries of Health and other relevant national partners in Barbados, Bhutan, China, Fiji, Kenya, Jordan and Uzbekistan, with varying foci. The project in China, for example, will focus on strengthening early warning and response systems to extreme heat in urban settings.

Melting Glaciers
A new study reveals that Greenland ice loss is happening faster than anticipated and spreading along the northwest coast, with acceleration likely since late 2005. The research is based on results from a combination of satellite [Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE)] and by GPS measurements. They estimate the mass loss equivalent to be about 0.02 inch of global sea-level rise per year.
The Arctic melt might cost from $2.4 trillion to $24 trillion by 2050, due to rising sea levels, floods, and heat waves, according to the report “Arctic Treasure, Global Assets Melting Away” by the Pew Environment Group. It is estimated that the loss of Arctic sea ice and snow cover has already cost the world about $61 billion to $371 billion annually.

Rising Sea Level
A tiny island in the Bay of Bengal, known as New Moore Island to the Indians and South Talpatti Island to the Bangladeshis, claimed for years by both countries, has disappeared beneath the rising sea, says the Indian School of Oceanographic Studies in Calcutta. Studies reveal that sea levels in this part of the Bay of Bengal have risen much faster over the past decade than in the previous 15 years. Therefore, it is likely that other islands in the Sundarbans delta region will be covered by the sea, forcing large numbers of people to move.

Adaptation
The number of people around the world needing humanitarian assistance due to natural catastrophes triggered by climate change might increase from 250 million today to more than 375 million, by 2015. Therefore, the British Government announced that it would recommend a doubling of the UN relief funds budget from the current $500 million to $1 billion, along with a reconsideration of the entire system.
The UNDP released a report titled “Screening Tools and Guidelines to Support the Mainstreaming of Climate Change Adaptation into Development Assistance – A Stocktaking Report” which summarizes existing tools and good practices from a range of organizations to guide development practitioners in their climate change mainstreaming efforts. The report provides a comparative overview of existing tools and guidelines, explores the components and entry points of the mainstreaming process, and presents definitions of key climate change

Post-Copenhagen Negotiations
On March 9, 2010, China and India formally announced at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change that they agree to be listed as parties to the Copenhagen accord. India specifically stipulates that the accord is not legally binding, but serves as a negotiating framework for a post-Kyoto treaty. There is increased agreement that it is unlikely that a treaty will be signed at the Mexico meeting in 2010, but rather hopes for it to happen at the December 2011 meeting to be held in South Africa.
Sources:
Current GISS Global Surface Temperature Analysis
http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/paper/gistemp2010_draft0319.pdf
Global cooling is bunk, draft NASA study finds
http://wwwp.dailyclimate.org/tdc-newsroom/2010/03/global-cooling-is-bunk-draft-nasa-study-finds
Australia '0.7 degrees warmer over past 50 years'
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gSMhzJlxY-feCKAbLpnD0sZy3G1Q
Droughts bring severe damage to some Asian countries
http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/articles/20100327120018/Article/index_html
CO2 at new highs despite economic slowdown
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE62E2KJ20100315
The Environment Outlook for the Arab Region
http://www.unep.org/dewa/westasia/eoar/
Lebanon's liquid treasure is just trickling away
http://www.france24.com/en/20100321-lebanons-liquid-treasure-just-trickling-away
An Overview of the Food Security Situation in Eastern Africa:
http://uneca.org/eca_programmes/srdc/ea/meetings/srcm2010/Food%20Security%20OVERVIEW.pdf
WHO and UNDP launch new project for Health adaptation to climate change
http://www.who.int/globalchange/news/climate_change_adaptation/en/index.html
Spread of ice mass loss into northwest Greenland observed by GRACE and GPS
http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2010/2010GL042460.shtml
Arctic Melt To Cost Up To $24 Trillion By 2050: Report
http://planetark.org/enviro-news/item/56999
Disputed Bay of Bengal island 'vanishes' say scientists
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8584665.stm
UN faces problems coping with natural disasters, minister warns
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/mar/28/un-disasters-policy
Global Futures. New project to identify best approaches to improve agriculture in developing countries
http://www.ifpri.org/pressrelease/global-futures?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Ifpriupdate+%28IFPRI+Website+Update%29
India and China to be Listed in Chapeau of Copenhagen Accord
http://climate-l.org/2010/03/10/india-and-china-to-be-listed-in-chapeau-of-copenhagen-accord/

Nanotechnology Safety Issues

Review of US National Nanotechnology Initiative
The President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) discussed a review of the US National Nanotechnology Initiative Program Report in a meeting on March 12. The webcast of the meeting is archived a thttp://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ostp/pcast/meetings ; the nanotech portion is at 5:30 into the recording.
Sources:
President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, March 12, 2010 meeting
http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ostp/pcast
webcast: http://www.tvworldwide.com/events/pcast/100312/

Comments Solicited on Proposed UN Nanotech Safety Report
According to Meridian Nanotechnology and Development News, "The United Nations' (UN) Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), a policy framework to promote chemical safety around the world, has developed an outline for a report focusing on nanotechnologies and manufactured nanomaterials including, in particular, issues of relevance to developing countries and countries with economies in transition… Comments are invited and may be submitted until May 1, 2010. The final report will be submitted at the first meeting of the Open ended Working Group, in 2011, and at the third session of the International Conference on Chemicals Management.”
Souces:
Report on Nanotechnologies and Manufactured Nanomaterials
http://www.merid.org/nanodev/more.php?articleID=2481&search=%2Fnanodev%2Farchive.php%3FdoSearch%3D1%26items%3D20%26q%3DSAICM%26sortField%3DPosted%26submit%3DSearch&scorePrecent=73
Nanotechnology and manufactured nanomaterials (resolution II/4 E) (report request)
http://www.saicm.org/index.php?menuid=9&pageid=425&submenuheader=

UK Nanotechnologies Strategy: Small Technologies, Great Opportunities report
The UK government published Nanotechnologies Strategy: Small Technologies, Great Opportunities, a comprehensive overview of all aspects related to regulations, standardization, policies, and strategies for advancement of nanotechnology in a safe and economically sound way. According to Meridian Nanotechnology and Development News, "The overall aims of the strategy are as follows: 1. Transparent, integrated, responsible and skilled nanotechnologies industry with good links to, and support from Government; 2. Better understanding of the risks associated with the use of, and exposure to, nanomaterials, and enough people with the right skills to assess them; 3. Better informed policies and regulations relating to nanomaterials and nanotechnologies; and, 4. Well-informed public and stakeholders and a leading position on nanotechnologies for the UK on the world stage."
Sources:
UK Nanotechnologies Strategy: Small Technologies, Great Opportunities
http://interactive.bis.gov.uk/nano/
UK Nanotechnologies Strategy; Small Technologies, Great Opportunities
http://bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/corporate/docs/n/10-825-nanotechnologies-strategy
The UK Nanotechnologies Strategy – disappointing (commentary article by Dr. Andrew Maynard of PEN)
http://2020science.org/2010/03/18/the-uk-nanotechnologies-strategy-disappointing/

Guide for Unbound Nanoparticles in Occupational Settings Made Available
According to Meridian Nanotechnology and Development News, ASTM International offers for purchase its Standard Guide for Handling Unbound Engineered Nanoscale Particles in Occupational Settings, which, in addition to providing handling principles and techniques, describes actions that can be taken to minimize human exposure to the particles.
Sources:
ASTM E2535 - 07 Standard Guide for Handling Unbound Engineered Nanoscale Particles in Occupational Settings
http://www.astm.org/Standards/E2535.htm
Standard Guide for Handling Unbound Engineered Nanoscale Particles in Occupational Settings
http://www.merid.org/nanodev/more.php?articleID=2496&search=%2Fnanodev%2Farchive.php%3FdoSearch%3D1%26items%3D20%26q%3DASTM%2Bunbound%26sortField%3DPosted%26submit%3DSearch&scorePrecent=100

Governing Uncertainty: Environmental Regulation in the Age of Nanotechnology
Governing Uncertainty: Environmental Regulation in the Age of Nanotechnology, according to a review, "makes a significant contribution to the issues it sets out to address, namely how government confronts conditions of acute uncertainty about environmental and health risks, and how, given such uncertainty, government structures its regulatory policy," And, Meridian Nanotechnology and Development News says, "it addresses the dilemma faced by governments wanting to satisfy the desire for scientific innovation while also taking into account the direct and indirect effects of such emerging technologies."
Sources:
Environmental Regulation in the Age of Nanotechnology
http://www.earthscan.co.uk/?tabid=102261
Environmental Regulation in the Age of Nanotechnology
http://www.rffpress-earthscan-usa.com/Books/BookDetail.aspx?productID=236827
Governing Uncertainty: Environmental Regulation in the Age of Nanotechnology
http://www.merid.org/nanodev/more.php?articleID=2508&search=%2Fnanodev%2Farchive.php%3FdoSearch%3D1%26items%3D20%26q%3Duncertainty%26sortField%3DPosted%26submit%3DSearch&scorePrecent=10

New Book on Nanotechnology and Ethics
Nanoethics Group announced the release of a new book, What Is Nanotechnology and Why Does It Matter?: From Science to Ethics, published by Wiley-Blackwell and resulting from a collaboration between ethicists and nanotechnology scientists. The book comprises three units. Unit 1 — What is Nanotechnology; Unit 2 — Risk, Regulation, and Fairness— risk, precaution, regulation, equity, and access. Unit 3 —Ethical and Social Implications— urgent issues: environment, military, privacy, medicine, and enhancement.
Sources:
Collaboration between ethicists and nanotechnology scientists reveals unique synergies and insights
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=15191.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nanowerk%2FagWB+%28Nanowerk+Nanotechnology+News%2

Final FramingNano Governance Platform Now Available
The final version of the FramingNano Governance Platform [See European FramingNano Governance Platform Draft Now Available in the January 2010 issue of these reports] is now available. According to Nanowerk News, it, "describes a heuristic process of how current and future challenges in nanotechnology governance can be identified, assessed and decided on, and proposes a number of structural elements to achieve this", among them, " governance and regulation of nanotechnologies must be considered a dynamic affair which needs to be continuously adapted", and, "the relevant stakeholders and the interested public have to be meaningfully included in the definition of commonly accepted principles, criteria and values to be used for the assessment of these changes.[Same as previous on this issue] Given the close collaboration between EU and U.S. nanotech experts and the high level of the Governance Platform, it is likely that it will set the stage for an international regulatory framework for responsible nanotech development. Military personnel concerned with nanotech regulation policy should review this [possibly revised] document for potential guidelines and collaboration.
Sources:
FramingNano report on current and future challenges in nanotechnology governance
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=14269.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nanowerk%2FagWB+%28Nanowerk+Nanotechnology+News%29FramingNano Project: A multistakeholder dialogue platform framing the responsible development of Nanosciences & Nanotechnologies
http://www.innovationsgesellschaft.ch/media/archive2/publikationen/FramingNano_Complete_Final_Report.pdf

ENPRA (Engineered NanoParticle Risk Assessment) Newsletter Available
The first ENPRA Newsletter is now available. ENPRA (Engineered NanoParticle Risk Assessment) is a major new EU FP7 project to develop and implement a novel integrated approach for engineered nanoparticle risk assessment. According to the Newsletter, the approach, "uses in vitro, in vivo and in silico models to assess the hazard of ENP and then combines the results with an assessment of workplace and consumer exposure of these materials for a rigorous final assessment of the potential health risk."
Sources:
European project for Engineered NanoParticle Risk Assessment publishes first newsletter
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=15139.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nanowerk%2FagWB+%28Nanowerk+Nanotechnology+News%29ENPRA Newsletter
http://www.enpra.eu/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=x1ipU9U4IPI%3d&tabid=78&mid=435

"Nano Meets Macro: Social Perspectives on Nanoscience and Nanotechnology"
According to the announcement, "This book explores the enormous diversity in social perspectives on the emergence of nanotechnologies. The diversity is structured by applying five broad categories: Philosophy, governance, science, representations and arts."
Sources:
Nano Meets Macro: Social Perspectives on Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
http://www.researchandmarkets.com/product/8aa2c4/nano_meets_macro_social_perStudy Shows Nano Damage Differs by Medium, Target Kingdom
Research by Prof. Pu-Chun Ke of Clemson Univ. indicates that the biological damage from carbon nanoparticles varies both with the state of the particles (pristine vs. well-functionalized fullerene) and whether the target cells are plant or mammalian, reports a story in nanowerk.com.
Sources:
Nanotoxicology - mammalian and plant cells respond differently to fullerenes
http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=15231.php

New Technique Allows Study of Nanoparticles in Embryos
Prof. David Cramb of the Univ. of Calgary Chemistry Dept. and colleagues report development of a methodology to measure various aspects of nanoparticles in the blood stream of chicken embryos. This will allow measurement and understanding of nanoparticle uptake into embryonic tissues, to aid in bioaccumulation studies involving embryos.
Sources:
Vigilance needed in nanotechnology
http://www.physorg.com/news186839917.html
Measuring properties of nanoparticles in embryonic blood vessels: Towards a physicochemical basis for nanotoxicity
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6TFN-4YCG05D-1&_user=10&_coverDate=02%2F12%2F2010&_alid=1233416266&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=search&_cdi=5231&_sort=r&_docanchor=&view=c&_ct=4&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=885fe697f75d566b4bc79ca84701d2ef

Paper Examines "Nanotechnology: Safe By Design?"
As summarized by Meridian Nanotechnology and Development News, this paper discusses the idea that the safety aspects of nano products can be ensured by proper design, pointing out the difficulties of identifying the specific physical and chemical properties that produce the distinct sets of beneficial or adverse effects, and manipulating those properties to produce the final product objective.
Sources:
Examining the Holy Grail of Nanotechnology: Safe By Design
http://www.azonano.com/details.asp?ArticleId=2508

"Greener Nanotechnology" Conference to be Held in June
The Safer Nanomaterials and Nanomanufacturing Initiative's 5th annual conference, GN10: Reducing principles to practice will be held June 16-18, 2010 in Portland, Oregon. According to the Conference announcement, it "will feature the latest developments in the design and production of greener nanomaterials, discuss and debate how to move the technology forward while developing environmentally sound products and processes, and focus on a few critical developments that will determine whether the U.S. will be a leader or a follower in this critical field."
Sources:
5th Annual Greener Nanoscience Conference & Program Review. Reducing principles to practice
http://oregonstate.edu/conferences/greenernano/

Conference on Nanotech and Sustainable Energy to Be Held
There will be a "Nanotechnology for Sustainable Energy" conference, July 4-9, 2010, at the Universitätszentrum Obergurgl, Austria. The conference announcement states, "Topical areas covered by this conference are those where Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (N&N) will, or may, have an impact on the development of a sustainable energy system, including environmental aspects. The conference includes both basic science of relevance for energy/environmental technology and more application oriented research. The objective is to gather experts in the respective fields at one conference, with the aim to make both an inventory and exposure of the state-of-the-art N&N based energy research, technologies and opportunities."
Souces:
Nanotechnology for Sustainable Energy conference
http://www.esf.org/index.php?id=6489

Nanotech Agriculture and Water Conferences to Be Held In Cairo
The 2010 NanoAgri and NanoAqua Conferences will be held in Cairo April 11-12, 2010 to review current developments in applications of nanotechnology to agriculture and water management. They will both feature discussions on environmental health and safety issues.
Sources:
NanoAgri 2010 Conference
http://www.merid.org/nanodev/more.php?articleID=2453&search=%2Fnanodev%2Farchive.php%3FdoSearch%3D1%26items%3D20%26q%3Dcairo%2BNanoAgri%26sortField%3DPosted%26submit%3DSearch&scorePrecent=100

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February 2010

The Convention on Cluster Munitions Enters into Force on August 1, 2010
The Convention on Cluster Munitions received the 30th ratification and thus will enter into force on August 1, 2010, two years after its adoption in May 2008. The Convention bans the use, production, and transfer of cluster munitions, and sets deadlines for stockpile destruction and clearance of contaminated land, as well as prescribing responsibilities towards affected communities. The Oslo process, based on close collaboration among governments, civil society (led by the Cluster Munitions Coalition), the International Committee of the Red Cross, as well as UN agencies, set a precedent on how a “coalition of the willing” can successfully lead to international regulations. As of February 16, 2010, 30 countries ratified and 104 signed the convention. The first meeting of States Parties is scheduled for November, to be held in Lao People’s Democratic Republic. [Related item: The Cluster Munitions Treaty Signed by 94 Nations in December 2008 environmental security report.]
Sources:
Cluster bomb ban treaty reaches 30th ratification milestone
http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/news/?id=2040
The Convention on Cluster Munitions
http://www.clusterconvention.org/

First Joint Meeting of the Main Conventions on Hazardous Chemicals to Improve International Environmental Governance
The first simultaneous extraordinary meeting of the Conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions (ExCOPs) to foster synergies among the three main conventions addressing hazardous chemicals and waste was held in Bali, Indonesia, February 22-24, 2010. The synchronization includes all main aspects, ranging from joint activities, management, and services, to budget cycles and audits, as well as a review mechanism and follow-up work on enhancing coordination and cooperation among the three conventions. The negotiations’ results are stipulated in the omnibus decision simultaneously adopted at the final plenary by the COPs of all three Conventions. This could be a test case for improved global environmental governance by increasing coherence in decisionmaking and monitoring at international, regional, and national levels. Reform of the international system of environmental governance was further discussed as a key theme at the 11th Special Session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GCSS-11/GMEF), held February 24–26 (the outcomes were not yet available at the time of this writing.) [Related item: UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Forum Makes Progress on Global Environmental Governance in February 2007 environmental security report.]
Sources:
UN launches global campaign to strengthen synergies in chemicals and waste management
http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=612&ArticleID=6466&l=en&t=long
Simultaneous Extraordinary Meeting of the Conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions (ExCOPs), and Eleventh Special Session of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Governing Council/ Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GCSS-11/GMEF)
http://www.iisd.ca/unepgc/unepss11/

Biosafety Protocol Advances
The second meeting of the Friends of the Co-Chairs on liability and redress in the context of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, held February 8-12, 2010, in Putrajaya, Malaysia, focused on international rules and procedures for damage resulting from transboundary movements of living modified organisms (LMOs), including a supplementary protocol on liability and redress, civil liability, and capacity-building measures. Although not concluding a supplementary protocol, significant progress was made on several of the most contentious issues, including the elaboration of a legally binding provision on civil liability. Outstanding issues include language, terminology, and financial security. The first drafts of the supplementary protocol include a provision for exemptions in case of acts of God or force majeure, and war or civil unrest, and parties’ right to provide other exemptions or mitigations in their domestic law, as necessary. The negotiations will continue in June 2010, so that the supplementary protocol can be adopted at the 5th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP/MOP5) to the Biosafety Protocol, to be held in October 2010 in Nagoya, Japan. Reviews, if necessary, would be at five years (after its coming into force.) Note: UNEP Year Book 2010 remarks that biodiversity changes due to human activities in the past 50 years were the most significant in human history. The IUCN Red List shows that 17,291 species out of 47,677 assessed are under threat: 21% of mammals, 70% of plants, 37% of freshwater fish, 35% of invertebrates, 30% of amphibians, and 12% of birds.
Sources:
Summary of the Second Meeting of the Group of Friends of the Co-Chairs on Liability and Redress in the Context of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, 8–12 February 2010
http://www.iisd.ca/vol09/enb09495e.html
COP-MOP 5
http://www.cbd.int/mop5/
UNEP Year Book 2010
http://www.unep.org/yearbook/2010

Jordan Armed Forces Upgrade, Part of Global Warming Debate
Jordan is the only developing country that included upgrading military energy efficiency in its greenhouse emissions reduction plan submitted to the UN as per the Copenhagen agreement. The government in Amman stated that its armed forces would seek to upgrade equipment and use energy saving technologies by 2020.
Source:
Jordan enlists army in climate fight
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSLDE61H0TH20100219?type=marketsNews

Joint Afro-Arab Strategy for Addressing Agricultural Development and Food Security
At the Joint Afro-Arab Ministerial Meeting on Agricultural Development and Food Security, held February 14-16, 2010, in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, delegates agreed on an action plan to guide their collaboration in agriculture and food security, including climate change-related elements. The action plan includes a section on transboundary and environmental challenges, proposing mitigation and adaptation tools such as: implementation of international and regional environmental conventions and initiatives, development of a common position in international negotiations; creation of joint mechanisms and networks to coordinate and monitor climate change and other environmental issues; and strengthening the institutions dealing with environmental protection and climate change issues.
Sources:
African Union Press Release
http://www.africa-union.org/root/au/Conferences/2010/feb/afroarab/Afro%20Arab%20PR%203.doc
Background Document on the Status and Prospects of Agricultural Development and Food Security in Africa and the Arab World
http://www.africa-union.org/root/ua/Conferences/2010/SA/fev/14-16fev/doc/Official%20Final_Summary_of_The_Study%20_%2029%20Sept%20.doc

Technological Advances with Environmental Security Implications

New Liquid Spray Glass Offers Rugged Surface Protection
A new spray-on liquid glass produces a water-resistant 100 nm-thick coating claimed to be environmentally harmless and easily wiped clean. Reportedly, it is “transparent, non-toxic, and can protect virtually any surface against almost any damage from hazards such as water, UV radiation, dirt, heat, and bacterial infections”, and is also flexible and breathable. The spray is being marketed by Nanopool GmbH of Hülzweiler-Schwalbach, Germany.
Sources:
Spray-on liquid glass is about to revolutionize almost everything
http://www.physorg.com/news184310039.html
Liquid Glass is probably the world’s most versatile new technology?
http://www.nanopool.eu/couk/index.htm

Microcantilevers Provide Ultrasensitive Detection
A tuned-microcantilever-based chemical sensor that is far more sensitive than current devices has been developed by a team led by Panos Datskos, of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Nanosystems & Structures Group. The researchers believe that the technology could be incorporated into a handheld instrument and therefore could be used for environmental assessment.
Source:
Novel sensor exploits traditional weakness of nano-devices
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=14813.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nanowerk%2FagWB+%28Nanowerk+Nanotechnology+News%29

Increasing Energy Efficiency Technologies

New Wearable Energy Charger Technologies
A wearable electrocardiograph energy-harvesting device, which provides tens of microwatts of energy per square centimeter, was developed by two R&D organizations, Holst Centre of Eindhoven, Netherlands, and IMEC of Leuven, Belgium. Reportedly, they combined a thermal harvester, matched specifically to a human body, with a large reduction in the power consumption of the driven wearable electronics. The system was able to charge two 2.4 v. batteries, can be easily integrated into fabrics, and can be well protected against damage. It earned the inventors the 2009 European Frost & Sullivan Award for Technology Innovation.
A technology for dye-based solar cells developed by Dr. Michael Grätzel, a chemist and professor at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland, has been licensed for application by G24 Innovations of Campbell CA, and other companies. The cells are being installed in sport bags, backpacks, and the like to allow users to recharge cell phones and other devices as they go about their activities; six to eight hours of sunlight is required for a full charge. Reportedly, companies like Nokia, Intel, Texas Instruments, Varta, and PG&E are carrying out R&D in this new field of “energy scavenging.” [Related item: Energy Harvesting Offers Possibilities for Environment-sparing Power in the December 2009 environmental security report.]
Sources:
Holst Centre and imec recognized for their path breaking wearable energy harvester technology
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=14625.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nanowerk%2FagWB+%28Nanowerk+Nanotechnology+News%29Recharging Your Cellphone, Mother Nature’s Way
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/31/business/31novel.html?partner=rss&emc=rss
Energy scavenging
http://www.shapingtomorrow.com/trends.cfm?trendAlert=1 (by free subscription only)Highly Conductive Fabrics Promise More Efficient Energy Storage
Dr. Liangbing Hu of Stanford University and colleagues have developed a family of highly conductive fabrics that hold out the promise of providing battery and supercapacitor electrodes with much higher energy density and durability than current exploratory materials like paper.
Sources:
Turning your T-shirt into a battery
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=14701.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nanowerk%2FagWB+%28Nanowerk+Nanotechnology+News%29Stretchable, Porous, and Conductive Energy Textiles
http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/nl903949m

Nanofibers Provide Energy-efficient White Light
Researchers at RTI International, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina report developing an energy-saving light source using polymer nanofibers. The device produces 55 lumens/watt of light output, more than five times as much as traditional incandescent lamps, provides excellent color-rendering, and, unlike CFLs, does not contain mercury.
Sources:
Researchers Develop Nanofiber-Based Technology to Make Energy-Efficient Lighting
http://www.physorg.com/news185048189.html

New Low-cost, Durable Hydrogen Producing System
A team led by Thomas Nann and Christopher J. Pickett at the University of East Anglia reports a new technique for light-driven catalytic production of hydrogen from water. The new system consists of a gold electrode covered with layers of indium phosphide (InP) nanoparticles, combined with an iron–sulfur complex, Fe2S2(CO)6, and irradiated while immersed in water with a small electric current. The system produces hydrogen with an efficiency of 60%, and lasts much longer than present systems with organic components. Another improvement in hydrogen production may come from the work at the laboratory of Prof. Jin Zhang at UC Santa Cruz, where a combination of elemental doping and quantum dot sensitization has produced improved photoanodes for photoelectrochemical cells.
Sources:
New photocatalytic method for the clean production of hydrogen from water
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=14748.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nanowerk%2FagWB+%28Nanowerk+Nanotechnology+News%29Water Splitting by Visible Light: A Nanophotocathode for Hydrogen Production
http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/123275459/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0 (Requires acceptance of cookies.)

Nano Gold May Offer Miniaturized Photoelectric Cell
Prof. Dawn Bonnell, Director of the Nano/Bio Interface Center at the University of Pennsylvania, and colleagues have announced a technology that uses gold nanoparticles to increase the efficiency of production of current in photovoltaic cells by factors of 4 to 20 over present structures. “If the efficiency of the system could be scaled up without any additional, unforeseen limitations, we could conceivably manufacture a one-amp, one-volt sample the diameter of a human hair and an inch long,” says Prof. Bonnell.
Sources:
Scientists turn light into electrical current using a golden nanoscale system
http://www.physorg.com/news185378650.html
Plasmon-Induced Electrical Conduction in Molecular Devices
http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/nn901148m

ARPA-E Awards Funding to 37 Transformational Energy Projects
The DOE's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (“ARPA-E”) awarded $151 million in funding to 37 transformational energy projects, including; for example, new thermoelectric power generation devices.
Source:
Bold, Transformational Energy Research Projects Win $151 Million in Funding
www.energy.gov/news2009/8207.htm 

Updates on Previously Identified Issues

Renewed Calls for Strengthening E-Waste Management Regulations
According to a UNEP report “Recycling - from E-Waste to Resources,” e-waste grows globally by 40 million metric tons a year and is expected to rise dramatically in the developing countries, which are vulnerable to illegal trafficking of hazardous waste unless regulations are strengthened and enforced. Computer waste in India alone is projected to grow by 500% by 2020 compared to 2007 levels. China, Brazil, and Mexico are also among the countries highly vulnerable to rising environmental damage and health problems from hazardous waste. Nevertheless, properly managed e-waste could represent business opportunities, by creating new jobs and income from recovering valuable materials, such as gold and cupper. [Related items: Hazardous Waste Disposal of Increasing Concern in September 2009, Organized Crime Targets Electronic Waste Recycling in July 2009, and other previous environmental security reports.]
The European Commission is exploring creation of a new body dedicated to enforcing European waste regulations, as recommended by its recent “Study on the feasibility of the establishment of a Waste Implementation Agency”. In the EU, an estimated 2.6 billion metric tons of waste are generated each year, out of which about 90 million metric tons are classified as hazardous. A recent large-scale inspection involving 22 Member States and some neighboring countries found that around 19% of waste shipments were illegal, most destined to countries in Africa and Asia. [Related items: Half of Transported European Hazardous Waste Could Be Illegal––How Much More Elsewhere? in April 2008, EU Updates the REACH System, and WEEE and RoHS Directives in December 2008, and other previous environmental security reports.]
Sources:
Urgent Need to Prepare Developing Countries for Surge in E-Wastes
http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=612&ArticleID=6471&l=en
Recycling – From E-waste to Resources (report)
http://www.unep.org/PDF/PressReleases/E-Waste_publication_screen_FINALVERSION-sml.pdf
Dedicated EU body needed to ensure enforcement of European waste law, says Commission study
http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/10/113&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en
Study on the feasibility of the establishment of a Waste Implementation Agency
http://ec.europa.eu/environment/waste/pdf/report_waste_dec09.pdf
Report on joint enforcement actions on waste shipments
http://ec.europa.eu/environment/waste/pdf/impel_report_09.pdf

European Commission Creates New Directorate-General for Climate Action
The EC’s new Directorate-General for Climate Action will take over the relevant activities from the other EC DGs, and those related to international negotiations on climate change from the External Relations DG. This should give more focus and effectiveness for the EU’s role in world efforts to address climate change. [Related item: European Climate and Energy Package Formally Adopted in April 2009 environmental security report.]
Source:
Commission creates two new Directorates-General for Energy and Climate Action
http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/10/164&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en

Spain Promotes European Common Strategy on Electric Cars
A February 9th meeting of EU industry ministers focused on plans to establish a common strategy for electric cars. Spain, the strongest promoter of the plan, suggests that the electric car be included in EU’s 2020 agenda and is pushing the European Commission to adopt a common strategy. Germany also supports the idea. Nevertheless, environmental-protection NGOs warn that unless developed in concordance with “smart” power grids, large-scale use of electric cars could be counterproductive to reducing CO2 emissions. [Related item: European Climate and Energy Package Formally Adopted in April 2009 environmental security report.]
Sources:
Spain pushes for common strategy on electric cars
http://euobserver.com/880/29443

Climate Change Requires Water Management Changes
The UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (UNSGAB) released the Hashimoto Action Plan II. It aims to support meeting the water-related Millennium Development Goals over the next three years. The Plan includes adaptation to climate change, water issues and disaster, and linking water-related disasters to climate change and sustainable development.
Meanwhile, experts warn that the approximately 300 agreements among States that border a shared river might not adequately address future pressures, mostly those caused by climate change. Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute notes, “New disputes are already arising in transboundary watersheds and are likely to become more common.” Pacific Institute’s report “Understanding and Reducing the Risks of Climate Change for Transboundary Waters” recommends: 1) conducting climate impact, vulnerability, and adaptation assessments, 2) evaluating existing treaties’ and agreements’ flexibility in light of changing conditions, 3) enforcing and expanding the scope of existing international legal frameworks, and 4) establishing new agreements for transboundary basins. The study also contains some specific case studies of regions where climate change, water issues, and international politics collide (including the Mekong River in Southeast Asia, the Guaraní Aquifer in South America, and the Nile River in Africa).
Sources:
Climate Change and Transboundary Waters
http://www.pacinst.org/reports/transboundary_waters/index.htm
Understanding and Reducing the Risks of Climate Change for Transboundary Waters
http://www.pacinst.org/reports/transboundary_waters/transboundary_water_and_climate_report.pdf
Water and Conflict Chronology
http://www.worldwater.org/conflict/index.html
The Hashimoto Action Plan II
http://www.unsgab.org/HAP-II/HAP-II_en.pdf

Increased Protection Needed for the Marine Environment
The East Asian Seas region has some of the world’s highest concentrations of shipping and fishing vessel activity, accounting for 50% of global fisheries production and 80% of global aquaculture production. The UNEP report “The East Asian Seas State of the Marine Environment” warns that the coastal habitats and ecosystems are experiencing stress due to pollution, alien invasive species and other factors, which could negatively impact the region’s economy. Nearly 75% of the region’s population depends directly or indirectly on coastal areas, and 80% of the region’s GDP is linked to coastal natural resources. Already, 40% of coral reefs and 50% of mangrove swamps have been lost. Coral reefs generate an estimated $112.5 billion and mangrove habitats $5.1 billion annually. Unless adequate environmental regulations are adopted and marine environment factored into economic planning, increasing poverty might add to social unrest and migration.
According to a study by researchers at Carnegie Institution published in the journal Nature Geoscience, the current rate of ocean acidification is up to 10 times faster than 55 million years ago—the last time deep oceans were so acidic. The main cause is considered to be the rapidly rising concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. Scientists warn that if present trends continue, some marine life is threatened with extinction, while coral reefs will begin to disintegrate before the end of the century. Coral bleaching is already damaging many reefs worldwide.
Sources:
East Asia’s economy could suffer if seas are not protected, says UN report
http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=33829&Cr=unep&Cr1
Oceans' acidity rate is soaring, claims study
http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/oceans-acidity-rate-is-soaring-claims-study-1899536.html
World's coral reefs could disintegrate by 2100
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/feb/23/worlds-coral-reefs-disintegrate-2100

Canada to Map about 2,500 miles of Arctic Seafloor
While national claims over the Arctic’s potentially mineral-rich seafloor are increasing, only about 5% of the Arctic floor has been mapped with modern sonar technology. Canada will send two robot submarines in March 2010 to gather evidence to help Canada’s claims for extending its continental area. The two 20-foot autonomous underwater vehicles will be equipped with specialized echo-sounder equipment, potentially helping scientists create a three-dimensional geographical map, as well as continuously collecting data for about 250 miles at a time, creating images of the expedition’s 2,500 or so miles. [Related items: Arctic Opens to International Commercial Use in January 2010 and others in previous environmental security reports.]
Sources:
About five percent of the Arctic floor has been mapped with modern sonar technology.
Canada Will Use Robot Subs to Map Arctic Sea Floor, Boost Territorial Claims
http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2010/02/10/10greenwire-canada-will-use-robot-subs-to-map-arctic-sea-f-45098.html

European Space Agency’s Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity Mission to Help Improve Water Management
ESA’s SMOS is consistently mapping soil moisture in land and salinity in oceans, documenting their variations and thus advancing understanding of the water cycle and helping weather and climate modeling, as well as improving water resource management. [Related item: A New Water Management Tool in September 2009 environmental security report.]
Source:
First images from ESA’s water mission
http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/smos/SEMOGN3KV5G_0.html

Organophosphate Flame Retardants May Pose Health Risk
New findings indicate that house pollution from organophosphate flame retardants (widely used as replacements for the now banned polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs)) may present a health risk, inducing altered hormone levels and declined semen quality in men.
Sources:
Dust harbors new fire retardants associated with hormone, sperm changes
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/newscience/op-fire-retardants-in-dust-linked-to-hormone-sperm-changes/
House Dust Concentrations of Organophosphate Flame Retardants in Relation to Hormone Levels and Semen Quality Parameters
http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/docs/2009/0901332/abstract.html

Climate Change

Scientific Evidence and Natural Disasters
The UNEP information note “How Close Are We to the Two Degree Limit?” reveals that under present pledges by countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions, there are slim chances of reaching the goal of keeping a global temperature rise at below 2ºC (3.6ºF) at the end of the century.
The Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre in Tasmania found evidence of interdependence between drought in Western Australia and snowfall in Antarctica: the heavier the snowfall is in Antarctica, the less the rainfall is in Australia’s southwest. The conclusions are based on studying 750-year-old ice-core samples.
In 2009, the average temperature in the Tibet Autonomous Region reached a record high of 5.9ºC (42.62ºF), 1.5ºC (2.7ºF) higher than “normal” (an average over several decades.). Chinese climatologists report that temperatures in Tibet rose by an average 0.32ºC (0.58ºF) per decade since 1961, when meteorological records began, which is considerably higher than the global average of 0.2ºC (0.36ºF) per decade.

Food and Water Security
The 33rd session of the Governing Council of the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), was held February 17-18, 2010 in Rome, Italy. The session underlined the impotence of smallholder farmers in addressing future agricultural challenges posed by climate change. Noting that food security is an integral part of overall security, both national and global, a high-level panel highlighted the importance of creating better market conditions to promote private investment in smallholder agriculture, developing policies that support smallholder farmers, and allowing smallholder farmers to compete for scarce agricultural resources.
Although avoiding meat is generally considered beneficial to the environment and improved food security, a study by Cranfield University (commissioned by WWF) found a substantial number of meat substitutes consumed in the UK, such as soy, chickpeas and lentils, have a higher environmental footprint because they are imported from overseas. Additionally, potential deforestation to create agricultural land for producing those substitute products is counterproductive to addressing climate change. Similarly, the EU objective of obtaining 10% of all transport fuels from biofuels by 2020 is undermining food security of developing countries as EU companies have taken millions of acres of land for production of biofuels. ActionAid’s new report, “Meals per gallon: the impact of industrial biofuels on people and global hunger,” warns that if all global biofuels targets were to be met, food prices could rise by an additional 76% by 2020 and force an extra 600 million people into hunger.
According to a new report published in the International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 38% of the world area, in eight out of 15 existing eco-regions, is at risk of desertification due to unsustainable land use practices. The areas potentially most affected are: North Africa, the Middle East, Australia, southwest China, the western edge of South America (as well as some coastal areas and prairies), the Mediterranean region, savannahs in general, and the temperate, tropical and subtropical steppes.
A University of Sydney study presented at the Carbon Farming conference warned that more than 80% of the world’s farming land is “moderately or severely eroded” and an estimated 75 billion metric tons of soil is lost annually. Soil in China is being lost 57 times faster than it can be replaced through natural processes, while in Europe it is 17 times faster, 10 times in America, and 5 times faster in Australia.
A recent Egyptian government study warns, “A 30 centimeter rise in sea level is expected to occur by 2025, flooding approximately 200 square kilometers (77 square miles). As a result, over half a million inhabitants may be displaced and approximately 70,000 jobs could be lost.” Given the Nile Delta’s importance for Egypt’s food and economic security, its environmental health should be considered “a matter of national security,” says Mohammed al-Raey of the Regional Disaster Response Centre.
In Niger, food insecurity affecting more than 7 million people and political instability (aggravated by the recent coup d'état) exacerbate each other.

Health
WHO has published a draft discussion paper, “Gender, climate change and health” which aims to provide a framework for gender-differentiated health risk assessment and adaptation/mitigation actions in relation to climate change. It offers information on the health risks for women and men through the perspectives of direct and indirect consequences, and the possible interactions and specificities of biological, economic, and social risk factors in determining these impacts, including migration and displacement, shifts in livelihood as responses to climate change, and gaps in understanding needs.

Melting Glaciers
Greenland’s melting is accelerated by ice sheet erosion caused by winds and currents that drive warmer water into fjords, found scientists led by Fiammetta Straneo of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. Detailed measurements of the water properties in the Sermilik Fjord revealed that deep warm water 3-4ºC (37.4-39.2ºF) is cutting into the base of the glaciers, accelerating their plunge into the sea. At present, sea level is rising at around 3 mm (0.12 inches) per year, compared to 1.8 mm (0.07 inches) a year in the early 1960s.
The Antarctic Peninsula’s ice front on the southern section has been retreating since 1947, with the most dramatic changes happening since 1990, states a U.S. Geological Survey report. “This is the first time since people have been observing the area, since the 1800s, that that ice shelf has not hitched together Charcot Island and the peninsula,” notes scientist Jane Ferrigno. Even in the Antarctic Peninsula’s coldest part, ice shelves are vanishing.
For the first time, the value of the Arctic’s declining ability to cool the climate has been quantified. The Pew Environment Group found that the cumulative cost of rapid melting of the region could range between $2.4 trillion to $24.1 trillion by 2050, and $4.9 trillion to $91.2 trillion by 2100. The factors considered included thawing permafrost, decline in albedo (reflectivity), and increase in methane emissions. The cost calculations included the impact of Arctic warming on agriculture, energy production, water availability, rising sea levels and flooding. The large range of estimates is due to the high level of uncertainty associated with factors influencing climate change; however, the low end magnitudes are not trivial.

Migration
In northeastern Syria, drought lasting for more than three years triggered one of the largest internal displacements in the Middle East in recent years. Some 300,000 families had to move to urban areas, as their livelihood has been destroyed. Lack of economic alternatives and an adequate government response continue to worsen the deteriorating situation.

Adaptation
According to the World Bank, urban populations in areas with significant probability of major earthquakes will increase from 370 million to 870 million between 2000 and 2050. As a result, The World Institute of Development Economics Research of the UN University recommends that cities set up hazard management as an integral part of urban planning and management, not as a separate activity.

Climate Modeling and Scenarios
New projections by the World Meteorological Organization for tropical cyclones until the end of the century show that although there will be fewer storms in number, they will be stronger and carrying more rain, therefore more damaging. Overall strength of storms measured in wind speed would rise by 2-11%; an 11% increase in wind speed translates to roughly a 60% increase in damage. Another study, analyzing only the Atlantic hurricane basin, predicts double the number of category 4 and 5 hurricanes, and a 28% increase in damage near the U.S.
Simulation models developed by Keith Cherkauer, affiliated with the Purdue Climate Change Research Center and the Center for the Environment in Discovery Park, show that Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan could receive 28% more precipitation by the year 2070, with most of it in winter and spring, while summer and fall seasons could be drier. He used three different scenarios based on different amounts of carbon emissions. The results also showed that by 2077, in the four states, winters could be 2.7ºF to 5.4ºF warmer and summers 3.6ºF to 10.8ºF warmer than today. Using the Variable Infiltration Capacity Model—which simulates how precipitation moves through land surface environments—he predicted stream flow for six rivers: the Chippewa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Wabash, Grand, and Rock Rivers.

Post-Copenhagen Negotiations
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) publishes the Copenhagen Accord climate pledges. A total of 55 countries have submitted by February 1st their plans to curb greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, as set at the Copenhagen climate conference in December 2009. Together, these countries account for 78% of the global emissions from energy use. China and India pledged to reduce the growth rate of their emissions by up to 45% and 25%, respectively, compared to 2005 levels. The U.S. pledged to cut its absolute carbon emissions by about 17% below 2005 levels. The EU maintains its pledged 20% cut below 1990 levels and 30% if other nations deepen their reductions. Nevertheless, the Climate Interactive team says that if current proposals would be fully implemented, the average global temperature would still rise by approximately 3.9°C (7.0°F) by 2100, exceeding the 2°C goal.
To advance negotiations for a binding treaty, an extra session of UN climate talks will be held April 9-11, at the Bonn-based UN Climate Change Secretariat, prior to the session scheduled in Bonn for May 31-June 11. Similarly, the UNEP information note “How Close Are We to the Two Degree Limit?” says that the chances of keeping global temperature rise below 2°C are 50/50. The report says that the annual global greenhouse gas emissions should not exceed 40 to 48.3 metric Gigatons (Gt) of equivalent CO2 in 2020 and should peak sometime between 2015 and 2021, while based on the pledges, the expected emissions for 2020 range between 48.8 and 51.2 GT. Global emissions should then further fall 48%-72% by 2050.
Sources:
More Ambition Needed if Greenhouse Gases are to Peak in Time, Says New UNEP Report
http://hqweb.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=612&ArticleID=6472&l=en&t=long
WA drought is 'proof of climate change'
http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=1009360
Tibet temperature 'highest since records began' say Chinese climatologists
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/feb/05/tibet-warming-china
Thirty-third session of the Governing Council of IFAD 17-18 February 2010: Programme of events
http://www.ifad.org/events/gc/33/index.htm
Tofu can harm environment more than meat, finds WWF study
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7023809.ece
EU biofuels significantly harming food production in developing countries
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/feb/15/biofuels-food-production-developing-countries
Egypt's fertile Nile Delta falls prey to climate change
http://www.seeddaily.com/reports/Egypts_fertile_Nile_Delta_falls_prey_to_climate_change_999.html
Over 7 million people in Niger facing food insecurity owing to bad harvest, warns UN
http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=33860&Cr=+niger+&Cr1=
Gender, Climate Change and Health. Draft Discussion Paper
http://www.who.int/globalchange/publications/reports/final_who_gender.pdf
Climate change melts Antarctic ice shelves: USGS
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE61L5OH20100222
Arctic melt to cost up to $24 trillion by 2050: report
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6145M520100205
Drought Blights Syrian Villages, Residents Dying of Hunger
http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/jan2010/2010-01-27-01.html
Density and Disasters: Economics of Urban Hazard Risk (UNU-WIDWR)
http://www.wider.unu.edu/publications/newsletter/articles-2010/en_GB/02-2010-Lall-Deichmann/
Tropical cyclones and climate change. Nature Geoscience (2010) doi:10.1038/ngeo779 Review
http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/ngeo779.html
Has Global Warming Affected Atlantic Hurricane Activity?
http://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/global-warming-and-hurricanes
UNFCCC receives list of government climate pledges (Press Release)
http://unfccc.int/files/press/news_room/press_releases_and_advisories/application/pdf/pr_accord_100201.pdf
The Climate Scoreboard
http://climateinteractive.org/scoreboard

Nanotechnology Safety Issues

Russia Sets Up Nanotech Risk Assessment and Regulation Cooperation
According to Nanowerk News, the CEO of RUSNANO, Anatoly Chubais, and the head of the Russian Federal Medical-Biological Agency, Vladimir Uiba, signed an agreement, "…to work jointly to ensure safe production and safe application of nanotechnology and nanomaterials." The charter of the collaboration is to "…ensure the sanitary and epidemiological well being of the country’s inhabitants during scientific research, development work, production, consumption, and disposal of products, materials, and finished goods created with nanomaterials and nanotechnology and during commercialization of nanotechnology".
Source:
Russian effort to ensure nanotechnology safety
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=14832.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nanowerk%2FagWB+%28Nanowerk+Nanotechnology+News%29

Russia and Finland to Cooperate on Nanotech Regulation Development
RUSNANO Deputy CEO Andrey Malyshev and Reijo Munther, Director, Materials Technology, of Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation, have signed a memorandum on standardization and regulation in nanotechnology. The discussions examined problems in nanotech regulation and approaches to developing coordinated positions for presentation to standardization and safety agencies.
Source:
Russia and Finland Collaborate on Model for Regulating Nanotechnology
http://www.rosnano.ru/Post.aspx/Show/25026

Australia Sets Up Framework for Safe Nanotech
As part of the National Enabling Technologies Strategy, the framework provides funding to support nanotech/biotech policy and regulatory development, industry uptake, international engagement, and strategic research, as well as for public awareness and community engagement to increase understanding of enabling technologies.
Sources:
National Enabling Technologies Strategy Policy
http://www.innovation.gov.au/Industry/Nanotechnology/Pages/NationalEnablingTechnologiesStrategyConsultations.aspx
Australia launches national framework for safe development of bio- and nanotechnology
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=14962.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nanowerk%2FagWB+%28Nanowerk+Nanotechnology+News%29

India to Establish Nanotechnology Regulatory Board
The Indian Nano Mission Council has announced the establishment, probably in March, of a Nanotechnology Regulatory Board to regulate industrial nanotech products.
Sources:
India to have Nanotechnology Regulatory Board soon
http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/india-to-have-nanotechnology-regulatory-board-soon/86186/on
Nano Mission Council
http://www.dst.gov.in/about_us/ar07-08/nano-mission.htm

Detailed Report on ICPC-NanoNet Project
An article prepared for NanoWerk Spotlight presents in updated and expanded detail the various information services available through the EU FP7 ICPC-NanoNet project (ICPC is the International Cooperation Partner Countries to the EU). These include: an electronic archive of nanoscience publications (www.nanoarchive.org); electronic databases of nanoscience organizations and networks, and researchers and stakeholders (www.icpc-nanonet.org); annual reports on nanoscience developments in eight ICPC regions; several online networking tools; and annual workshops in the EU, China, India, and Russia. [Related item: Regional Reports on Nanotech Issued by International Group in August 2009 environmental security report]
Source:
International cooperation in environmental nanotechnology - example water purification
http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=14971.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nanowerk%2FagWB+%28Nanowerk+Nanotechnology+News%29

EC Publishes Paper on Options for Framing Public Policy on Nanotech
The Governance and Ethics Unit of the EC's Directorate-General for Research has published an overview paper on options for framing public policy on nanotechnologies. According to the announcement, "The document gives an overview on four current or recently finished research projects in this field (Deepen, Nanocap, Nanoplat and FramingNano). The authors’ aim is to give an insight into the nature of public debate on nanosciences and nanotechnologies, and the ways in which deliberative approaches could lead to better governance of these technologies."
Sources:
Understanding Public Debate on Nanotechnologies: Options for Framing Public Policy
http://www.innovationsgesellschaft.ch/index.php?section=news&cmd=details&newsid=289&teaserId=
Understanding Public Debate on Nanotechnologies. Options for Framing Public Policy
http://www.innovationsgesellschaft.ch/media/archive2/tv_radio_und_printartikel/Debate_nano_100203.pdf

Paper Reviews Nanotech Remediation of Waste Sites
Dr. Barbara Karn of EPA’s National Center for Environmental Research and colleagues have published a paper, Nanotechnology and In Situ Remediation: A Review of the Benefits and Potential Risks. It was written, “…to focus on environmental cleanup and provide a background and overview of current practices, research findings, societal issues; potential environment, health and safety implications and future directions for nanoremediation…” of waste sites. The paper includes 76 references. A Nanoremediation Site Map developed in conjunction with the paper can be found at http://www.nanotechproject.org/inventories/remediation_map/
Sources:
New nanotechnology review article focuses on environmental clean-up
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=14720.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nanowerk%2FagWB+%28Nanowerk+Nanotechnology+News%29Nanotechnology and in Situ Remediation: A Review of the Benefits and Potential Risks
http://ehsehplp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/fetchArticle.action?articleURI=info%3Adoi%2F10.1289%2Fehp.0900793

New Magazine Features Nanotech for the Environment
A new magazine, ENT (Environmental Nano Technologies), has appeared, describing itself as an "…international magazine covering the latest research, applications, and opinions in the field of nanotechnology for the environment - alternative energies, water, air and soil purification." It will include digital archives, an interactive website, and the possibility of participating in Patent Auctions.
Source:
Environmental Nano Technologies Magazine
http://www.entmagazine.com/

Worldwide Nanotech Labs Deficient in EHS Protection
According to a story in Meridian Nanotechnology and Development News, "Researchers at the University of Zaragoza, Spain, found, by conducting an online survey, that most researchers who handle nanomaterials that could become airborne do not use suitable personal and laboratory protection equipment." The survey indicated that 25% of the nanotech labs did not use any type of protection and many of the labs disposed of nanomaterials in the same way as other chemicals.
Sources:
Reported Nanosafety Practices in Research Laboratories Worldwide
http://www.merid.org/NDN/more.php?id=2400
Reported nanosafety practices in research laboratories worldwide
http://www.nature.com/nnano/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nnano.2010.1.html (abstract; subscription or purchase required for full text)

"Toxicology of the Tiny"
A senior writer at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at UC Santa Barbara, James Badham, has written a brief article summarizing the current state of nanotoxicology and providing a number of links to work in the field. It offers an excellent review of issues in the subject and sources for further information.
Source:
The race to know how nanoparticles affect living things is on, even as the use of those particles is increasing exponentially
http://www.miller-mccune.com/science-environment/toxicology-of-the-tiny-7171/

New Technique May Reduce Silver Nanoparticle Hazard
Scientists at the Laboratory of Polymer Chemistry at the University of Helsinki report success in chemically binding silver nanoparticles to a polymer, thereby reducing the likelihood of a silver particle finding its way from a product into the body. The details of the possible toxicity of silver nanoparticles are still being investigated. It is known that they do cause some cell damage. In the proposed configuration, only silver ions escape, to exert their antimicrobial action.
Source:
Chemists manage to reduce the toxicity of antimicrobial nanosilver in products
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=15028.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nanowerk%2FagWB+%28Nanowerk+Nanotechnology+News%29

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January 2010

The Haiti Earthquake Disaster Could Stimulate Improved Resilience Planning
The current chaotic situation and humanitarian disaster resulting from the 7.3 magnitude earthquake on January 12, 2010 in Haiti demonstrates the need for improved early warning, resilience training, and post-disaster international coordination. Since scientists warn that the number and intensity of natural disasters will increase, the need for such systems and training will increase. Unique preparation is needed for poorer, less resilient countries like Haiti.
UNEP is working for the Haiti Regeneration Initiative to be implemented by a wide range of partners for long-term sustainable development and reduction of vulnerability to natural hazards through ecosystem restoration and sustainable natural resource management. [Related item: International Early Warning Programme to Begin Operations in March 2007 environmental security report.]
Sources:
United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haitihttp://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/missions/minustah/
Earthquake jeopardizes Haiti's security and stability http://www.isria.com/M/Weekly_Report_20100118.htm
Haiti earthquake: death toll may hit 200,000 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/centralamericaandthecaribbean/haiti/7003057/Haiti-earthquake-death-toll-may-hit-200000.html
UNEP to lead environmental recovery efforts in Haiti http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=608&ArticleID=6448&l=en

Yemen’s Internal Conflicts Are Water-Induced
A new analysis of Yemen’s drastic water situation points out that an estimated 80% of conflicts in Yemen are over water. The country’s water table is dropping about 6.6 feet per year, and in the capital, Sana’a, water extraction rates are about four times that of replenishment. At this rate Sana’a could become the first waterless capital in the world in five to seven years. Water used for agriculture accounts for about 90% of all consumption, and about 50% of it goes to growing qat (khat), a mild narcotic plant. Since plantations are often controlled by the so-called qat mafia, if farmers would be offered an alternative to qat, the critical water, food, and security situations would be addressed together.
Sources:
Water woes could undermine Yemen’s drive against Al-Qaeda http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hRiwhJYeUXY1B3Ma2oCfQVE0G9vA
Private sector considers desalination to save Yemen from drought http://www.zawya.com/Story.cfm/sidZAWYA20100125113425/Private%20sector%20considers%20desalination%20to%20save%20Yemen%20from%20drought

International Lawsuits for Environmental Crime Proliferate
International lawsuits for environmental crimes are increasing, including those based on damages due to climate change, which is a new phase in the international environmental legal system. For example, Micronesia filed a case with the Czech Environment Ministry against the extension of the Prunerov, CEZ’s largest coal-powered generator, on grounds of potential increase of CO2 emissions with subsequent consequences to global warming and rising sea levels. Consequently, the Czech government ordered an international assessment of the project. Another example is Kivalina, an Inupiat Eskimo village on a barrier island north of the Arctic Circle. It has created a case against a group of fuel and utility companies (including ExxonMobil and Shell Oil) for their contribution to climate change that is accelerating the island’s erosion. A third example is four Nigerian farmers and Friends of the Earth Netherlands who filed a pollution lawsuit in the Netherlands against Royal Dutch Shell for environmental degradation caused in Nigeria.
In a related activity, Bolivia’s President Evo Morales is organizing an international conference April 20-22, 2010 in Cochabamba to explore creation of an international court on environmental crimes and a “universal proposal for the rights of mother earth.” Government officials, indigenous people, other social movement representatives, environmentalists, and scientists will be invited.
Sources:
Morales Calls Alternative Climate Meeting http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/01/06/tech/main6063924.shtml?tag=contentMain;contentBody
Courts as Battlefields in Climate Fights http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/27/business/energy-environment/27lawsuits.html
Czechs Cede To Micronesia Demands Seeking Power Plant Review http://www.foxbusiness.com/story/markets/commodities/czechs-cede-micronesia-demands-seeking-power-plant-review/
Shell must face Friends of the Earth Nigeria claim in Netherlands http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2009/dec/30/shell-oruma-alleged-pollution-claim

Geoengineering May Require International Environmental Regulations
Several national authorities are assessing the potential need for national or international regulations for safe development and use of geoengineering to address climate change and global warming. A committee in Britain’s House of Commons began its assessment and is cooperating with the U.S. House Science and Technology Committee, which is also planning to begin hearings this year on scientific, engineering, ethical, economic, and governance aspects related to geoengineering. This March a group of scientists will meet in California to set guidelines for large-scale field tests of proposed geoengineering techniques––ranging from genetically modified trees to absorb CO2, to spewing sunlight-deflecting sulfate particles into the upper atmosphere. Some scientists argue that new environmental regulations should be established even before field tests begin, due to potentially large geographic effects of some geoengineering techniques. Others, while comparing geoengineering to nuclear weapons, which have been successfully managed through international agreements, point out the possibility of serious long-term risks, and propose an international annual research budget growing from $10 million to $1 billion by the end of 2020.
Sources:
A Search for Rules Before Climate-Changing Experiments Begin http://www.nytimes.com/cwire/2010/01/18/18climatewire-a-search-for-rules-before-climate-changing-e-40048.html
Time to start researching global 'sun block': scientist http://www.lfpress.com/news/canada/2010/01/27/12637061.html
Research on Global 'Sun Block' Needed Now, Experts Argue http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100127134243.htm

International Year of Biodiversity is 2010 and Convention on Biological Diversity COP10 to Meet in Japan This Year
The year 2010 is designated as the International Year of Biodiversity by the United Nations. A panoply of events is planned to take place around the world for raising awareness and generating public pressure on leaders to develop new mechanisms to curb loss of the world’s species due to human activity (estimated by some experts at 1,000 times more than natural evolution). Scientists and officials agree that methods are needed to price the impact of decisions on biodiversity and set policies that will help create a better balance. The international community is expected to agree on some post-2010 goals on biodiversity at the COP10 of the Convention on Biological Diversity to be held October 18-29, in Nagoya, Japan.
Sources:
2010 UN Year of Biodiversity http://www.cbd.int/2010/welcome/
UN opens Biodiversity Year with plea to save world's ecosystems http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=33393&Cr=envirionment&Cr1=
Benn to call on world leaders to adopt biodiversity pricing http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/jan/25/hilary-benn-biodiversity-pricing
Reformed Common Agricultural Policy should incentivise biodiversity http://www.greenwisebusiness.co.uk/news/reformed-common-agricultural-policy-should-incentivise-biodiversity-1102.aspx

Technological Advances with Environmental Security Implications

New Detection and Cleanup Techniques

Genetically Engineered Bacteria Might Provide Landmine Detection
Alistair Elfick, of the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Biomedical Engineering, and his team have genetically modified E. coli bacteria to produce a protein in the cell membrane that senses TNT, one of the explosives used in landmines. The group introduced the gene for the luciferase enzyme, which produces light in fireflies. According to scidev.net, “When proteins on the surface of E. coli detect TNT, this ‘switches on’ the gene responsible for light production.”
Source:
Bacteria make light work of detecting landmines http://www.scidev.net/en/news/bacteria-make-light-work-of-detecting-landmines.html

Work Proceeds on Optical Fiber Detector for Bacterial Agents
Thomas Inzana, a bacteriologist at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech, and his team have received a grant by NIH to continue their work on development of nanoscale optical fiber biosensor tests for detection of biological agents such as might be used in a terrorist attack. According to the story in Nanowerk News, “the optical fiber is coated with antibodies or DNA that will bind to antigens or DNA in the specimen. When this happens, the light that normally passes through the fiber will be decreased, indicating the presence of a biological agent.”
Source:
Nanoscale optical fibers to detect bioterrorist agents http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=14320.php

Increasing Energy Efficiency Technologies

New Selective Radiation Surfaces May Save on Cooling Energy
Prof. Geoff Smith and Dr Angus Gentle of the Institute of Nanotechnology at the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia, are conducting research on materials for building surfaces that radiate back into the atmosphere at night, heat that was absorbed during the day. The heat is radiated at wavelengths which are not absorbed by the atmosphere but continue on out into space. The surfaces are coated with a mixture of silicon carbide and silicon dioxide nanoparticles, and have cooled surfaces to 15°C less than ambient temperature in Sydney. The scientists point out that the surfaces could cool air or water, which could then be pumped through buildings to cool them.
Sources:
Nanocoating that acts as efficient heat pump could reduce need for energy-guzzling air conditioning http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=14466.php

Power-generating Flexible Films Might Power Body-worn Devices
Michael McAlpine, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Princeton University, and colleagues have developed power-generating rubber films that are highly efficient in generating electrical energy when flexed. The films combine silicone and nanoribbons of lead zirconate titanate (PZT), a piezoelectric ceramic material that the developers say is 100× as piezo-efficient as quartz.
Sources:
Energy-harvesting rubber sheets could power pacemakers, mobile phones http://www.physorg.com/news183832835.html
Piezoelectric Ribbons Printed onto Rubber for Flexible Energy Conversion http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/nl903377u.

New Membranes Claim to Cut Desalination Energy Requirements
A start-up company, NanoH2O, is claiming a 20% reduction in the energy required for reverse osmosis desalination using its new membranes. Other companies (Danfoss, Novozymes, Aquaporin) are engaged in similar efforts.
Source:
NanoH2O to Change the Economics of Desalination http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/print/nanoh2o/

Updates on Previously Identified Issues

The EU’s Chemical Regulatory Regime might be adjusted to Include Nanomaterials
The Institute for Health and Consumer Protection of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) awarded two contracts to a consortium led by SAFENANO (Institute of Occupational Medicine) for the development of specific advice on the assessment of nanomaterials under REACH (the EU’s Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals). The two projects, REACH-NanoInfo (aka RIP-oN2), and REACH-NanoHazEx (RIP-oN3), address the REACH information requirements on intrinsic properties of nanomaterials, and the processes for undertaking exposure assessments and conducting hazard and risk characterization for nanomaterials within the REACH context. The work will be carried out in consultation with a range of stakeholders and will be used by the EC to support further developments in REACH Guidance on Information Requirements and Chemical Safety Assessment. Along the same lines, Nanomaterials under REACH report by the Netherlands’ National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) indicates that REACH doesn’t adequately cover nanomaterials and points out the differences in risk assessment requirements between nano- and macro-sized materials. [Related item: EU to Add Carbon and Graphite to REACH Program in the June 2008 environmental security report.]
Sources:
Consortium awarded crucial advisory contracts on the regulation of nanomaterials under REACH http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=14573.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nanowerk%2FagWB+%28Nanowerk+Nanotechnology+News%29
Consultancy & Review Activities - EC & SAFENANO http://www.safenano.org/REACHnanoInfo.aspx
REACH-NanoHazEx: Rip-oN 3 http://www.safenano.org/REACHnanoHazEx.aspx
Nanomaterials under REACH report http://www.rivm.nl/bibliotheek/rapporten/601780003.pdf
Nanomaterials under REACH: Some Adjustments Needed http://www.innovationsgesellschaft.ch/index.php?section=news&cmd=details&newsid=274&teaserId =

Monopoly over Rare Earth Elements Raises Security and Environmental Concerns
Most new technologies—from low-carbon energy production to defense—require rare earth elements (REEs) for their manufacture. However, the distribution and exploitation of these elements is limited, with over 95% of all REEs for world consumption being produced in China. China’s own increasing technological and green energy generation needs might considerably impact the supply and/or price of some REEs (such as neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium, and erbium used for wind turbine generators). John Kaiser, a California-based mining expert and rare-earths specialist, warns, “If the world gets really serious about green technology, it could result in a scale of demand that rare-earth suppliers would be unable to cope with.” Pricing and different work and environmental standards are among the main factors impeding exploitation outside China. Business and political leaders should re-assess the supply situation of REEs in view of new technological and security needs. [Related item: Future Lithium Dependency Raises New Energy Security Concerns in March 2009 environmental security report.]
Sources:
The Battle Over Rare Earth Metals http://www.ensec.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=228:the-battle-over-rare-earth-metals&catid=102:issuecontent&Itemid=355
EXCLUSIVE: Inside China's secret toxic unobtainium mine http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1241872/EXCLUSIVE-Inside-Chinas-secret-toxic-unobtainium-mine.html

New Evidence on Silver Toxicity
Researchers of the Dept. of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology at Duke University Medical Center conducted a study whose results, “...provide evidence that silver has the potential to kill developing nerve cells and is even more potent than currently known neurotoxicants.”… Effects varied widely with test conditions, making interpretation difficult. [Related items: UK Defra Committee Report on Nanosilver and Industry Silver Nanotech Group Opposes "New Material" Designation in December 2009, and Petition Filed for EPA to Regulate Nanosilver in November 2009 environmental security reports.]
Sources:
Silver Impairs Neurodevelopment: Studies in PC12 Cells: http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/members/2009/0901149/0901149.pdf
Silver is a potent nerve cell toxicant: http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/newscience/silver-is-potent-neurotoxicant/

Botox Creates Basis for New Terrorist Weapon
Counterterrorist experts claim Al-Qaeda has tried to acquire botulinum toxin (an extremely deadly poison), which is found in the Botox beauty treatment. Chechnya and other parts of the world may have counterfeit Botox production facilities that can produce and sell botulinum on the Internet. Increasing markets for counterfeit beauty and pharmaceutical products could lead to increased access for biological terrorism. Although it is known that such illicit facilities exist, they are difficult to find. Due to specific characteristics, the most likely attack is contamination of food or water supplies. [Related item: New Technologies Need New Regulations Systems in March 2009 and other items on similar issues in previous environmental security reports.]
Sources:
Officials fear toxic ingredient in Botox could become terrorist tool http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/24/AR2010012403013.html
Toxin Found in Botox Could Pose Bioterrorism Threat http://gsn.nti.org/gsn/nw_20100125_2898.php

France Proposes Carbon Tax Across EU and on Imports
President Nicolas Sarkozy announced that France would propose a carbon tax across the EU, and carbon tariffs on products imported from countries with weaker environmental regulations. Nationally, a bill expected to be presented soon to the Parliament is proposing a progressive carbon tax similar to the income tax, taxing big polluters on their CO2 emissions. The French government hopes the regulation will come into force on July 1, 2010, and be effective until the EU emissions permits scheme enters into force. [Related item: EU Potential New Measures For Reducing CO2 Emissions in October 2009 environmental security report.]
Sources:
Paris wants pan-European carbon tax http://euobserver.com/9/29221/?rk=1
The Coming Battles Over Green Trade - by Mac Margolis http://www.eu-digest.com/2010/01/coming-battles-over-green-trade-by-mac.html
France to tax big polluters under revised scheme http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE60J4FA20100120

U.S. to Strengthen Environmental Regulations

New Measures on Chemicals Safety
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has created a ‘Chemicals of Concern’ list and adopted additional measures for reducing risks posed by compounds raising serious potential health or environmental concerns: phthalates and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) were added to the list; risk-reduction actions should begin for several phthalates, short-chain chlorinated paraffins, and perfluorinated chemicals; and the three-year DecaBDE phaseout will be reinforced. [Related item: New Chemicals Considered for Toxic Lists in January 2009 environmental security report.]
The U.S. Congress is proposing to update the 34-year-old federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), requiring more through testing for chemicals. In the preamble to the debate, the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition released a report which notes that since 1976, when the federal TSCA became law, the EPA has required testing on only 200 of the 83,000 chemicals in common use and issued regulations for only five, while 60,000 chemicals received approval without preliminary government testing. Highlighting the health and cost issues associated with toxic chemicals, it estimates that the new regulations would reduce the incidence of chronic diseases by 0.1% and direct health care costs by $5 billion a year in the U.S. [Related item: U.S. to Revise the Toxic Substances Control Act in October 2009 environmental security report.]
Sources:
EPA Announces Actions to Address Chemicals of Concern, Including Phthalates: Agency continues efforts to work for comprehensive reform of toxic substance laws http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/d0cf6618525a9efb85257359003fb69d/2852c60dc0f65c688525769c0068b219!OpenDocument
Existing Chemicals Action Plans http://www.epa.gov/oppt/existingchemicals/pubs/ecactionpln.html
Stricter rules urged on toxic chemicals http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10022/1030212-114.stm

EPA Proposes Tougher Air-Quality Rules
The EPA tougher National Ambient Air Quality Standards proposal sets a primary standard for ground-level ozone at no more than 0.060 to 0.070 parts per million (measured over eight hours), to be phased in over the next two decades (extended for regions with highest smog pollution). A secondary smog standard is proposed to protect the environment, especially plants and trees. [Related item: EPA Warnings on Various Potential Health Hazards in October 2009 environmental security report.]
Sources:
EPA pushes tougher air-quality rules http://thehill.com//blogs/e2-wire/677-e2-wire/74733-epa-proposing-tougher-smog-standards
EPA Strengthens Smog Standard/Proposed standards, strictest to date, will protect the health of all Americans, especially children http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/d0cf6618525a9efb85257359003fb69d/d70b9c433c46faa3852576a40058b1d4!OpenDocument
E.P.A. Seeks Stricter Rules to Curb Smog http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/08/science/earth/08smog.html?th&emc=th

California Proposes Reducing the Level of Chromium 6 in Water
The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment has proposed a “public health goal” of 0.06 ppb of hexavalent chromium (Cr 6) for the state’s drinking water. The current state and national standards for total Cr compounds are 50 ppb and 100 ppb, respectively. (EPA is reevaluating the latter.) The new California value was set as a result of a recent federal study setting a threshold of one cancer among every one million people exposed for a lifetime. After public comments, the California Department of Public Health will adopt a regulation setting a maximum allowable level for water supplies based on the health goal but also considering economic and technological factors. [Related item: New Substances Identified as Harmful to Human Health and the Environment in June 2009 environmental security report.]
Sources:
California unveils new goal for controversial carcinogen in water http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/news/chromium-6-goal
Public Health Goal for Hexavalent Chromium in Drinking Water (Draft). Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment California Environmental Protection Agency http://www.oehha.ca.gov/water/phg/pdf/Cr6PHGdraft082009.pdf

First U.S. National Health Security Plan Released
The U.S. Health and Human Services Department released the first National Health Security Strategy for the event of a bioterrorism incident or other large-scale health crisis. The strategy outlines objectives for different government areas and for nongovernmental groups to focus on over the next four years, and recommends a review of the national countermeasure system. [Related item: Global Influenza Pandemic Declared in June 2009 environmental security report.]
Sources:
First U.S. National Health Security Plan Released http://gsn.nti.org/gsn/nw_20100108_9470.php
HHS Delivers the Nation’s First Health Security Strategy http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2010pres/01/20100107a.html

Building Contaminants Linked to Parking Lots with Coal Tar Sealant
Scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey have published a paper linking high concentrations of the contaminants polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in house dust to coal tar sealants used on parking lots. PAHs are an environmental hazard because several are probable human carcinogens. [Related item: Study Shows Nanotube Manufacture May Pollute Environment in August 2007 environmental security report.]
Sources:
Parking Lot Problems http://www.enn.com/top_stories/article/40920
Contaminated House Dust Linked to Parking Lots with Coal Tar Sealant http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100113112056.htm
Coal-Tar-Based Parking Lot Sealcoat: An Unrecognized Source of PAH to Settled House Dust http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es902533r

Scientists Say Dolphins Should Be Treated As 'Non-Human Persons'
New study of dolphins’ behavior, backed up by anatomic research, has led scientists to declare dolphins second to humans in intelligence and suggesting that they should be treated as “non-human persons”. [Related item: GreenhouseGasEmissionsIncreaseOcean Noise Pollution in December 2009 environmental security report.]
Sources:
Scientists say dolphins should be treated as 'non-human persons' http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/science/article6973994.ece

Arctic Opens to International Commercial Use
The first telecommunication project in the Arctic is to link Tokyo and London by underwater fiber optic cable through the Northwest Passage, thus cutting the transmission delay from 140 milliseconds to 88 milliseconds. Branch lines would also link to the U.S. East Coast, ensuring quicker transmission times between Tokyo and New York. In addition to being faster, these lines are apparently also more secure, avoiding critical regions.
A report by UNESCO, “Climate Change and Arctic Sustainable Development” is a comprehensive assessment of the environmental and social transformations of the Arctic due to climate change, proposing an integrated approach for monitoring and adapting to climate change in the Arctic based on multilateral collaboration among scientists, circumpolar communities and decisionmakers. [Related item: Arctic “Pole of Peace” Suggested to Address Arctic Security Issues in December 2009 environmental security report.]
Sources:
Global warming opens up Arctic for undersea cable http://www.nation.co.ke/InDepth/Africa%20Insight/-/625262/847148/-/wxhyixz/-/index.html
Climate Change and Arctic Sustainable Development http://publishing.unesco.org/details.aspx?&Code_Livre=4722&change=E

Climate Change

Scientific Evidence and Natural Disasters
A preliminary analysis from the National Climatic Data Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) found that the decade 2000-2009 is the warmest decade since instrumental measurements of temperatures began in the 1880s, and 2009 (tied with 2006) was the fifth warmest year on record, based on measurements taken on land and at sea. The average trend over the past three decades is warming at about 0.36°F (0.2°C) per decade, while average global temperatures have risen by about 1.5°F (0.8°C) since 1880.
According to the Met Office’s forecast made using the Decadal Prediction System (DePreSys), 2010 could yet be the hottest year on record, due to a new El Niño warming period that has just started in the Pacific. Additionally, the sun should also begin to brighten, as part of its 11-year brightness fluctuation cycle (in 2009 it was at the bottom of the cycle.) Further, if not for 2010, then “a record breaker will still occur in the next few years” says Doug Smith, climate expert at the Met Office.
Oddball Winter Weather: Global Warming’s Wake-Up Call for the Northern Unites States, a study by the National Wildlife Federation, documents how climate change is linked to precipitation increase, including intense snowstorms, as warmer winter weather causes more surface water evaporation (and less freezing), thus recharging the atmosphere with moisture. This explains the unusually heavy snowfall in many parts of the world.

Food and Water Security
A new report by the Division for Sustainable Development of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs assessed the impact of foreign land purchase for agriculture. Foreign governments and private investors are increasingly purchasing or leasing key farmland in Africa on a long-term basis. The report notes that it is critical to ensure that such contracts promote shared food security interests and meet the need for improving legal and technical capacities of host countries, as well as to conduct impact assessments for the host country on the benefits, costs, and risks associated with land acquisition.
Scientists warn that more attention should be given not only to the impact of climate change on food quantity, but to its nutritional quality too. They found that increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere reduces the nutritional value of many basic food crops. It is estimated that the approximate 20% CO2 rise since 1960 may have already decreased protein concentration in wheat flour by 5%–10%. A study by researchers at Southwestern University, Georgetown TX, shows that if atmospheric CO2 reaches 540–960 ppm, it could result in a significant decline (10%–15%) in protein content of major food crops including barley, wheat, soya bean and potato. Additionally, higher CO2 levels may reduce water flow through a plant, affecting the uptake of micronutrients from the soil, such as sulphur, magnesium, iron, zinc, and manganese.

Health
The WHO report “Protecting Health from Climate Change: Connecting Science, Policy and People” provides an update of the scientific evidence on health risks caused by climate change. It outlines necessary action to protect health from negative impacts of climate change and describes a number of effective interventions that can save lives in the present and reduce vulnerability in the future. In addition, the report singles out several policy options in other sectors, such as transport and energy production, that could simultaneously improve health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Migration
The small island developing states continue efforts to have their fate stipulated in a binding treaty on climate change. “It is important that the recognition of SIDS as most vulnerable countries be preserved in a legally binding outcome and that these countries receive priority access to resources for urgent adaptation and mitigation projects,” said Mark Jariabka, executive director of Islands First, an organization that promotes and protects the interests of SIDS. In addition to vulnerability, they are concerned about lack of any bilateral or multilateral agreements for eventual relocation. “Even if such an agreement is signed between an island nation and another host country, this itself will raise a number of issues regarding international law - sovereignty status, U.N. membership etc. etc.” says Ambassador Abdul Ghafoor Mohamed, the permanent representative of Maldives to the United Nations. “Do these people relocate as a ‘nation’ or as individual refugees who are then subsumed into the host nation as their own citizens, or would they enjoy ‘sovereign rights’? Would they continue to have claim to the territory of the land they had vacated? If not, who would have claim on it, if at all?” questions the Ambassador.

Adaptation
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced its ongoing work towards the establishment of a Global Cryosphere (global solid water system) Watch to serve societal needs for weather, climate and water, and related environmental information and services. The World Meteorological Congress, WMO’s supreme governing body, is to consider ways and means of developing and implementing a Global Cryosphere Watch at its next quadrennial session in 2011. Once established, a Global Cryosphere Watch should enhance the capability of the research community and operational services to predict the future state of the cryosphere and facilitate assessments of the cryosphere and its components on a regional to global scale to support climate change science, decision-making and formulation of environmental policy.
The Joint Session of the Executive Boards of the UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, and WFP held on January 15, 2010 focused on the issue of climate change. Noting that 40% of development investment from ODA and concessional lending is sensitive to climate risk, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark spoke on how the UN agencies can support countries in addressing the climate change challenge through their programmatic activities at the country level to support capacity building for adaptation and mitigation, and access to climate financing. She also said that the UN Development Group (UNDG) developed guidelines to support the UN Country Team on how to mainstream disaster risk reduction and environmental sustainability into the programmatic activities at the country level. Specific guidelines on climate change will be issued soon.
The UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) released a study, “Transboundary flood risk management: experiences from the UNECE region,” which describes problems and progress made regarding transboundary flood management in 10 transboundary river basins in the UNECE region; tools for improving resilience against transboundary flood risk; and useful legal and institutional arrangements for cooperation.” The study also notes that climate change is expected to increase both the magnitude and the frequency of floods, although there is considerable uncertainty. The study was prepared by the Task Force on Water and Climate, under the UNECE Water Convention.

Climate Modeling and Scenarios
Scientists from NOAA, combining three models into one tool, were able to simulate with higher accuracy storms’ evolution and categories across the Atlantic. They found that by the end of the century, although storms will in general decrease in number, they will be more powerful; category 4 (210-249 kilometers per hour) and category 5 (over 250 kilometers per hour) will double in frequency. The hardest hit will be Haiti and the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas and the northeastern coast of the U.S. These results corroborate results of other climate models.

Post-Copenhagen Negotiations
States that signed the Copenhagen accord agreed to announce (by end-January 2010) their official CO2 emissions reduction commitments. The EU decided to maintain its commitment of 20% greenhouse gas emissions reduction by 2020 compared to 1990 levels, and 30% if other powers make comparable pledges. Australia announced that it will cut greenhouse gas emissions by 5% of 2000 levels by 2020 unconditionally, and 15% to 25%, depending on other countries’ commitments.
The environment ministers of the BASIC countries (Brazil, South Africa, India, and China) met on January 24 to discuss cooperation in future climate negotiations and decided to adhere to the agreements made in the Copenhagen Accord regarding the submission of their emission reduction actions. Cooperation among these countries may shape future climate change negotiations and influence the adoption of a binding climate agreement. The next round of climate talks is scheduled for November 29, 2010, with pre-conference negotiations slated to take place May 31 to June 11, 2010.
Sources:
The resurgence of El Niño means that 2010 could yet be the hottest year on record http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/jan/10/climate-change-uk-big-freeze
Past Decade Warmest on Record, NASA [NOAA] Data Shows http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/22/science/earth/22warming.html
Foreign land purchases for agriculture: what impact on sustainable development? http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/resources/res_pdfs/publications/ib/no8.pdf
The 'hidden hunger' caused by climate change http://www.scidev.net/en/opinions/the-hidden-hunger-caused-by-climate-change.html
Protecting Health from Climate Change: Connecting Science, Policy and People http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2009/9789241598880_eng.pdf
Climate Change: Small Islands Await Haitian-Type Disaster http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=50036
WMO Information Note http://www.wmo.int/pages/mediacentre/infonotes/GlobalCryosphere.html
Transboundary flood risk management: experiences from the UNECE region http://www.unece.org/env/water/mop5/Transboundary_Flood_Risk_Managment.pdf
Models Foresee More-Intense Hurricanes in the Greenhouse http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/327/5964/399?ijkey=EFlfVe870I6Bg&keytype=ref&siteid=sci
EU climate offer unchanged http://euobserver.com/9/29357/?rk=1
Australia to put forward unchanged carbon cuts to UN http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Australia_to_put_forward_unchanged_carbon_cuts_to_UN_999.html
China, 3 others to chart climate roadmap http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2010-01/15/content_9324199.htm

Nanotechnology Safety Issues

European FramingNano Governance Platform Draft Now Available
The draft FramingNano Governance Platform sets out a proposal for the framing of policy on nanotechnology in Europe; and, according to Nanowerk News, “highlights the major challenges to be overcome in order to successfully craft governance policies for nanotechnologies, and the communication issues that need to be addressed if Europe is to harness the full potential of this rapidly growing area of technology.” The Governance Plan was discussed at the final International Conference of the FramingNano FP7 held in December 2009 and is being submitted to the European Commission “as a model of management to be followed by European policy makers and stakeholders.”
Sources:
A New Governance Framework for Nanotechnologies (conference page, with “Proceedings now available for members”) http://www.framingnano.eu
Brussels conference discusses nanotechnology governance platform http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=14269.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nanowerk%2FagWB+%28Nanowerk+Nanotechnology+News%29

Comprehensive Review of Engineered Nanomaterials Health And Safety
A consortium led by Edinburgh Napier University and the Institute of Occupational Medicine published a 426-page final report of the project Engineered Nanoparticles - Review of Health & Environmental Safety (ENRHES), described by Nanowerk News as "A comprehensive and authoritative review of the health and environmental safety of engineered nanomaterials [that] considers sources, pathways of exposure, [and] the health and environmental outcomes of concern". The report contains prioritized recommendations to aid policymakers in formulating regulations.
Sources:
ENRHES report provides in-depth examination of nanomaterials safety
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=14387.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nanowerk%2FagWB+%28Nanowerk+Nanotechnology+News%29Engineered Nanoparticles - Review of Health & Environmental Safety project final report
http://nmi.jrc.ec.europa.eu/documents/pdf/ENRHES%20Review.pdf

Nanotechnology--Assessment of Health Safety and Environmental Factors
Frost & Sullivan, and Research and Markets, are offering a new research report, Nanotechnology--Assessment of Health Safety and Environmental Factors (Technical Insights). According to the announcement, the report provides "an overview of the HSE implications of nanotechnology … a forced field analysis of the industry drivers and challenges… [a] strategic evaluation of the possible initiatives… …[and] Profiling of commonly used HSE nomenclature with a list of the ongoing research projects in North America and Europe." The report is available for €4533-€5928, depending on the scope of the license.
Source:
Nanotechnology - Assessment of Health Safety and Environmental Factors
http://www.researchandmarkets.com/product/02ab42/nanotechnology_assessment_o

UK House of Lords Committee Urges Nanosafety Transparency
Nanotechnologies and Food, a 112-page report presented by the UK House of Lords science and technology committee, urges, "the government and research councils to carry out more checks into the use of nanomaterials in food and in particular the dangers for the human body." This call is the third in two years, following those for more stringent safety checks from the Royal Society and the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution.
Sources:
Press Notice: Science and Technology Committee - Nanotechnologies and Food http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/lords_press_notices/pn080110st.cfm
Nanotechnologies and Food. Science and Technology Committee, First Report http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld/ldsctech.htm
Peers criticise food industry secrecy on nanotechnology http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/jan/08/food-industry-nanotechnology-secrecy

UK Report Calls on Government to Support Nanotech Risk Assessment
According to a story in the Financial Times, a report just issued by the UK's Nanotech Knowledge Transfer Network calls, "for the government to assuage public fears over nanotechnology by supporting risk assessments of new products", especially on behalf of small start-ups that may not have the resources for such activities.
Sources:
Nanotechnology: a UK Industry View (report)
http://mnt.globalwatchonline.com/epicentric_portal/binary/com.epicentric.contentmanagement.servlet.ContentDeliveryServlet/MNT/Knowledge%2520Centre/MiniIGTReport2010.pdfBusiness urges campaign over 'grey goo' fears
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/82d93a8a-00ad-11df-ae8d-00144feabdc0.html  (Requires a free subscription registration.)

Note: The following three items describe a key stage in development of an emerging issue: the rise of general public interest and outcry. It can signal a turning from involvement of technocrats and some politicians to a more general political atmosphere.

Public Disruptions Force Cancellation of French Public Nano Debates
Disruptions by environmentalists have forced the cancellation of three of the scheduled debates in France on nanotech issues. [See item French Public Debate on Nanotechnology in the October 2009 environmental security report.]
Sources:
Loud Starts End France's Nanotech Debates
http://blogs.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2010/01/a-loud-start-to.html

Research Calls for Better Explanations and Sources in Nano Risk Communication
Johannes Simons, of the Institute for Food and Resource Economics at the University of Bonn, and colleagues have published a paper, The Slings and Arrows of Communication on Nanotechnology, that addresses the general problems of communicating nanotechnology risk. According to Nanowerk Spotlight, they utilized research from Germany, the US, and Australia to develop their recommendation, “…risk communication on nanotechnologies requires target-specific approaches…”, and that “...it is important to involve trusted institutions in the risk communication process. This could help people to accept the information because they do not suspect the communicator of having some hidden interests or of deceiving them with misleading information.”
The need for reforms in the process is supported by a study by Prof. Elizabeth Corley, of Arizona State University’s School of Public Affairs, and Dietram A. Scheufele of the University of Wisconsin—Madison that, “found widening gaps in nanotech knowledge since 2004 between the least educated and most educated citizens. Americans with at least a college degree have shown an increase in understanding of the new technology, while knowledge about nanotechnology has declined over time for those with education levels of less than a high school diploma”, according to a Nanowerk News story
Sources:
The slings and arrows of communication on nanotechnology http://www.springerlink.com/content/y6rxm682t4301353/
Communicating nanotechnology http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=14344.php
Nanotechnology outreach going wrong? http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=14296.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nanowerk%2FagWB+%28Nanowerk+Nanotechnology+News%29
Outreach Going Wrong? When we talk nano to the public, we are leaving behind key audiences http://www.the-scientist.com/2010/1/1/22/1/

5th International NanoRegulation Conference Report Available
The 5th International NanoRegulation Conference took place on November in Rapperswil, Switzerland, with the theme, " 'No Data, no Market?' - Challenges to Nano-Information and Nano-Communication along the Value Chain", presenting views and expectations regarding information and data exchange along the value chain, and possible approaches to the problem. A report is now available. According to Meridian Nanotechnology and Development News, "the debate at the conference revealed an urgent need for '...a coordinated information transfer of relevant nanospecific data along the value chain,' while recognizing the concerns that nano-labeling could be misunderstood as an indication of hazard by consumers."
Sources:
NanoRegulation Conference Report Now Available
http://www.innovationsgesellschaft.ch/index.php?section=news&cmd=details&newsid=263&teaserId=13

New Studies Add to Knowledge on Nanoparticles and Biological Reactions
Work being done by Silvia H. De Paoli Lacerda and Jack F. Douglas at the Polymers Division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is shedding new light on the effects of nanoparticle size (5nm to 100nm) on their association with a whole range of important blood proteins.
Sources:
Interaction of Gold Nanoparticles with Common Human Blood Proteins http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/nn9011187
Trying to understand the interaction of nanoparticles with blood http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=14327.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nanowerk%2FagWB+%28Nanowerk+Nanotechnology+News%29

Conference on New-Technology Sensors to Be Held in UK
The Micro and Nano Sensors Interest Group (MiNSIG) of the UK's Sensors & Instrumentation Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) is organizing a conference, Applications of Micro and Nanosensors in Security, Health and Environmental Monitoring, for 4 March 2010 at the National Physical Laboratory, Teddington, UK. The event will display novel sensing technologies developed by UK companies and universities leading to new applications in security, health and environmental monitoring. The keynote speakers will highlight some of the important developments in nanotechnology and sensor applications including future challenges, trends and opportunities, and will give an account of the requirements and opportunities for novel sensor developers.
Sources:
Applications of Micro and Nanosensors in Security, Health and Environmental Monitoring http://sensors.globalwatchonline.com/epicentric_portal/site/sensors/minsig-page2/?mode=0
Conference to discuss future of nanotechnology enabled sensors http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=14463.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nanowerk%2FagWB+%28Nanowerk+Nanotechnology+News%29

Key 2009 Nano Environmental Health and Safety Developments
According to the announcement, UK's SAFENANO's new report, "provides a summary of key nanoEHS developments from 2009, … considers how these are likely to shape 2010 in nano … [and] provides a personalised account of news, publications and legal developments from 2009, …[c]overing scientific discoveries, regulatory and governmental developments, consumer issues, and developments in the nanotechnology community."
Sources:
2009 - a big year for nano safety http://www.safenano.org/SingleNews.aspx?NewsID=957

Reports and Information Suggested for Review

Protecting the environment during armed conflict. An inventory and analysis of international law
Protecting the environment during armed conflict. An inventory and analysis of international law report by UNEP is a comprehensive overview of existing legislation protecting the environment in case of conflict and gaps and areas that should, but are not yet, covered by regulations. The report notes that there are no mechanisms to protect natural resources during armed conflict, and no permanent international authority to monitor violations and address liability and redress claims for environmental damage caused during armed conflicts. There are also terminology issues, such as lack of clear definition for “widespread,” “longlasting,” and “severe”, as well as a standard definition of what constitutes a “conflict resource” or their illegal exploitation and trade. While the majority of international legal provisions protecting the environment during armed conflict—including the ICRC Guidelines on the Protection of the Environment during Armed Conflict (1994)—were designed for international armed conflicts, the majority of today’s conflicts are internal; hence the legal instruments do not apply. The report recommends, inter alia, that the Permanent Court of Arbitration and its “Optional Rules for Conciliation of Disputes Relating to the Environment and/or Natural Resources” should be considered to address disputes related to environmental damage during armed conflict. It concludes that “A summary report on the environmental impacts of armed conflicts should be presented on an annual basis to the UN General Assembly, in conjunction with the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict.”
Sources:
Laws Protecting the Environment during Wars Need Enforcing and Strengthening to Deal with New Challenges
http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=602&ArticleID=6362&l=en
Protecting the environment during armed conflict. An inventory and analysis of international law
http://postconflict.unep.ch/publications/int_law.pdf

Environmental Performance Index 2010 Score Worse for Vulnerable States
The 2010 Environmental Performance Index ranks 163 countries on 25 performance indicators tracked across ten policy categories. It facilitates cross-country comparisons as well as analysis of how the global community and individual countries are performing in particular sectors and policy issues, therefore helping assess the sectors that should be improved. The 2010 EPI reveals that most of the lower ranked nations are also vulnerable states, hence proving again the importance of including environmental aspects in peace and vulnerability strategies.
Sources:
Environmental Performance Index 2010 http://epi.yale.edu/

European Space Agency First International Security Symposium
On February 9-10, 2010, the European Space Agency will hold its First International Security Symposium to “share information on security approaches, challenges and evolution that international organizations face in the current geopolitical situation.”
Source:
First International Security Symposium http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEM08TRJR4G_Benefits_0.html

Back to Top


December 2009

“Copenhagen Accord” Brokered by President Obama at UN Climate Change Conference Is a Step Forward in Negotiations––Next Stop Mexico
The UN Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen was attended by over 100 heads of state and government, representatives of 193 nations, and between 40,000 and 100,000 people from around the world came to participate in side events. The December 7–18, 2009 set of conferences and meetings resulted in a non-binding 12-paragraph Copenhagen Accord that calls for international cooperation to make sure global warming does not rise more than 2ºC, that developed and developing nations set carbon reduction targets that are internationally verifiable, that developed countries provide funds approaching USD 30 billion for the period 2010 to 2012 for developing countries with balanced allocation between adaptation and mitigation, and that developed countries mobilize USD 100 billion a year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries. However, the original objective was not achieved: to adopt a treaty that would extend or replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address global climate change.
The Conference and the numerous side-events generated an extraordinary wealth of information regarding challenges and potential strategies for addressing global climate change and set the stage for further negotiations. The next round of climate talks is scheduled for November 2010 in Mexico.
Note: Some scientists warn that lack of clear targets and commitments might raise CO2 concentrations to around 700 parts per million (compared to 450 ppm that scientists consider the limit for keeping global warming below 2ºC), meaning a potential warming by 3.5ºC by 2100. The International Energy Agency estimates that about $10.5 trillion in additional investment is needed by 2030 for setting the world on the path to low-carbon development.
Sources:
Copenhagen Accord. Draft decision -/CP.15 Proposal by the President. Conference of the Parties, Fifteenth session, Copenhagen, 7-18 December 2009 http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2009/cop15/eng/l07.pdf
Summary of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference http://www.iisd.ca/vol12/enb12459e.html
The Copenhagen climate change summit. New Scientist's full coverage http://www.newscientist.com/special/copenhagen-climate-change-summit

Seven Tipping Elements That Could Transform the Planetary Systems
Increasingly, scientists agree on some tipping elements that are extremely sensitive to climate shifts and therefore might have an important impact on the planetary systems. “The problem with tipping elements is that if any of them tips, it will be a real catastrophe,” notes Anders Levermann, climate physicist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. The seven tipping elements considered are:
• Polar sea ice––passing a potential warming tipping point might cause serious loss of ice sheets and associated sea-level rise
• Amazon rainforest––increased weather-altering deforestation after passing a critical deforestation point
• Chad Bodélé Depression––substantial increase in dust production from the 10,000 square mile Saharan plain that now puts 700,000 tons of dust into the atmosphere annually
• South Asian Monsoons––amplified monsoon systems triggered by increased heat
• The Gulf Stream––due to lack of good models, the IPCC’s estimate of 10% Gulf Stream slowdown during the 21st century is uncertain
• Seafloor methane––increased release of methane (a powerful greenhouse gas) from methane hydrate in the seafloor, due to warming over a tipping point
• The Future––unknown features that could trigger radical changes
Scientists point out that an additional important unknown element is the interaction of these and other known elements.
Sources:
Tipping elements in the Earth System. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, PNAS December 8, 2009, vol. 106, no. 49, 20561-20563 http://www.pnas.org/content/106/49/20561.full
7 Tipping Points That Could Transform Earth http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/12/tipping-elements/all/1

Emerging International Packaging Standards to Reduce Environmental Footprints
The first meeting of the ISO TC122 SC4 Packaging and Environment committee was held in Stockholm to begin work on standards for reducing the environmental footprint of packaging. The standards will cover source reduction, reuse, recycling, energy recovery, chemical recovery, composting and biodegrading, and a seventh overall standard. The new international standards are expected to be finalized by mid-2012 and to consider existing packaging and environmental standards already in use in Europe and Asia.
Sources:
Creation of International Packaging Standards Begins http://www.greenbiz.com/news/2009/12/10/creation-international-packaging-standards-begins
TC 122/SC 4 Packaging and Environment http://www.iso.org/iso/standards_development/technical_committees/other_bodies/iso_technical_committee.htm?commid=52082

Studies Show Increased Hazards from Some Types of Airborne Particles
Latest research reveals that certain kinds of airborne metallic microparticles, such as nickel, vanadium, and carbon, appear to pose a much higher toxic risk than other materials, putting acute stress on the lungs and heart. Low grade oil, such as is used in diesel trucks and space heaters, is a major source in urban areas. Scientists stress that more work needs to be done to study the relationships between particulate composition and biological harm.
Source:
Heavy metal: Some airborne particles pose more dangers than others http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/news/metal-particles

Technological Advances with Environmental Security Implications

New Detection and Cleanup Techniques

New Laser-based Gas Sensor Is Tunable over Wide Wavelength Range
A new type of optical gas sensor, using vertical-cavity, surface-emitting semiconductor laser diodes (VCSELs) has the important property of being tunable over a 5 nm spectral range, and thus able to detect a variety of different gases. The technology is being developed by NEMIS, an EU FP6 project at the Walter Schottky Institut, Technische Universität München in Munich.
Sources:
NEMIS (New Mid-Infrared Sources for Photonic Sensors http://www.nemis.eu/
Huge long-term potential for new breed of gas sensors http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=13823.php

Ozone Bubbles Provide New Cleansing Technique
A new technique uses ozone bubbles to turn hydrocarbon [oil] content in water or soil into a form that can be retained by sand filtration, which is a conventional and economical process. This new method has been developed by Prof. Andy Hong of the University of Utah, and is expected to be commercialized by Miracotech, Inc. of Albany CA.
Source:
Tiny Bubbles Clean Oil from Water. New Method Targets Oil Sheen, Other Pollutants http://unews.utah.edu/p/?r=111209-1

New Water Purifying Filter Requires No Energy or Running Water
Tata Chemicals, of Mumbai/Kolkata, India, has announced the release of ‘Tata Swach’, a water purifier unit that requires no energy or running water to operate. The unit uses a replaceable cartridge packed with a purification medium that kills bacteria and disease-causing organisms. The cartridge can purify up to 3000 liters of water, after which it stops water flow.
Source:
Tata Chemicals launches ‘Tata Swach’ http://www.tata.com/media/releases/inside.aspx?artid=TtOdcdNuSRk=

Nanotube-impregnated Paper Provides Sensitive Biosensor for Aqueous Toxins
Prof. Nicholas Kotov, of the departments of Chemical Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Michigan, and associates from Jiangnan University, China, have developed a fast and inexpensive sensor for detecting toxins in water, using paper strips with several layers of single-walled carbon nanotube dispersion containing antibodies. The technique’s sensitivity is high––comparable with such current biochemical techniques as enzyme immunoassay and mass-spectrometry––and reportedly more than 25 times faster. Kotov explains that “The change of electrical response [conductivity] of the paper reflects the contents of the analyte”.
Sources:
Simple nanotechnology paper sensor for detecting toxins in water http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=13913.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nanowerk%2FagWB+%28Nanowerk+Nanotechnology+News%29
Simple, Rapid, Sensitive, and Versatile SWNT-Paper Sensor for Environmental Toxin Detection Competitive with ELISA http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/nl902368r

New Technology to Measure Single Nanoparticles
Prof. Lin Yang and his team at Washington Univ. have developed a “whispering-gallery-mode resonator” that provides a new degree of accuracy––1% to 2%––in the measurement of nanoparticle size. [Related item: New Paper Suggests Concentrating Toxicity Studies on Smaller Nanoparticles in the September 2009 environmental security report.]
Sources:
Tiny whispering gallery: Sensor can detect a single nanoparticle and take its measurement http://www.physorg.com/news180363327.html
On-chip single nanoparticle detection and sizing by mode splitting in an ultrahigh-Q microresonator http://www.nature.com/nphoton/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/nphoton.2009.237.html (Abstract)

NIST Awards Development Funding for Extended Sensor for Infrastructure Health
Under its Technology Innovation Program, the National Institute of Standards and Technology has awarded development funding to Optellios, Inc. of Newtown PA for distributed fiber-optic sensing technology to enable real-time monitoring, identification, and location of disturbances and changes over long stretches of pipelines. Although the system is intended to detect and locate leaks, third-party actions, aging, and other disturbances in pipelines, it may also be applicable to other types of infrastructure.
Source:
Distributed Fiber-Optic Sensing Technology For Civil Infrastructure Management http://tipex.nist.gov/tippb/prjbriefs/prjbrief.cfm?ProjectNumber=090038

Increasing Energy Efficiency Technologies

‘Energy Harvesting’ Offers Possibilities for Environment-sparing Power
A team of researchers at the Department of Aerospace Engineering, University of Bristol, UK, are investigating technologies for ‘energy harvesting’––the gathering of energy from low amplitude vibrations that occur naturally in the environment, such as from machines or even the human body. Their research is directed at making use of a much larger variety of vibrations than is currently possible, by employing transducers that respond to a wider range of frequencies.
Source:
Pickin' Up Good Vibrations to Produce Green Electricity http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/PressReleases/harvester

New Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells Show Increase in Energy Conversion Efficiency
A new type of dye yields dye-sensitized solar cells with a three-fold increase in energy conversion efficiency over current versions. The dye has been developed by researchers from Monash University and the University of Wollongong, Australia, and the University of Ulm, Germany.
Source:
Innovation puts next-generation solar cells on the horizon http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=13777.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nanowerk%2FagWB+%28Nanowerk+Nanotechnology+News%29

Genetically Engineered Bacteria Convert CO2 to Liquid Fuel
Scientists led by James C. Liao, Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at UCLA’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, have genetically modified a cyanobacterium to consume CO2 and use sunlight-driven photosynthesis to produce the liquid fuel isobutanol, which can potentially be used as a alternative to gasoline.
Source:
Researchers engineer bacteria to turn carbon dioxide into liquid fuel http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=13968.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nanowerk%2FagWB+%28Nanowerk+Nanotechnology+News%29

Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Claims Reduced Lifecycle Cost
Thomas Adams and Prof. Paul I. Barton of the MIT Chemical Engineering Dept. have proposed a design for a natural-gas-powered solid oxide fuel cell that they claim, under a favorable carbon pricing structure, has a lower lifecycle cost than present designs. Their system produces pure CO2, avoiding the step, presently required for carbon sequestration, of separating that gas from the total output stream.
Source:
A greener way to get electricity from natural gas http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2009/natural-gas.html
High-efficiency power production from natural gas with carbon capture http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6TH1-4XJG5KY-3&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=56b56fc929eb0e36ed13f9567bbca539 (Abstract)

Nano-infused Paper Substrate Improves Energy Storage Capabilities
A research group at Stanford University, led by Yi Cui, assistant professor of materials science and engineering, has shown that paper coated with ink made of carbon nanotubes and silver nanowires makes a more durable component for flexible batteries and supercapacitors than the plastic used in previous experiments. According to Cui, “The paper supercapacitor may last through 40,000 charge-discharge cycles––at least an order of magnitude more than lithium batteries. The nanomaterials also make ideal conductors because they move electricity along much more efficiently than ordinary conductors.” [Related item: First Flexible Supercapacitor Built in the April 2009 environmental security report]
Sources:
Highly conductive paper for energy-storage devices http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2009/12/04/0908858106
At Stanford, nanotubes + ink + paper = instant battery http://news.stanford.edu/news/2009/december7/nanotubes-ink-paper-120709.html

Thin Crystalline-Silicon Photovoltaic Cells Offer Many Advantages
Scientists at Sandia National Laboratories have developed crystalline-silicon photovoltaic cells from 14 to 20 µm thick and 0.25 to 1 mm across. According to the announcement, the new devices “are expected eventually to be less expensive and have greater efficiencies than current photovoltaic collectors that are pieced together with 6-inch-square solar wafers.” Further, “they use 100 times less silicon to generate the same amount of electricity,” and “Since they are much smaller and have fewer mechanical deformations for a given environment than the conventional cells, they may also be more reliable over the long term.” A major manufacturing convenience is that a very large number can be created from a single 12- or 18-inch diameter wafer, allowing defective cells to be individually discarded.
Source:
Glitter-sized solar photovoltaics produce competitive results http://www.sandia.gov/news/resources/news_releases/glitter-sized-solar-photovoltaics-produce-competitive-results/

Updates on Previously Identified Issues

Climate Change

Scientific Evidence and Natural Disasters
The past ten years have been the warmest in 160 years of recorded history, reveals preliminary data released by the UK Met Office based on temperature records from over 1,500 global monitoring stations. Similarly, based on preliminary data the World Meteorological Organisation announced that 2009 will be one of the ten warmest individual years recorded, with a temperature 0.44ºC (0.79ºF) above the long-term average of 14ºC (57.2ºF).
Preliminary disaster figures for 2009 show that over 75% of the people killed and 95% of the total affected by natural hazards were due to extreme weather events, says a joint press release by the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, UNDP, and World Meteorological Organization. Although the 2009 statistics show lower figures compared to previous years, Margareta Wahlström, UN Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, warned that “extreme weather disasters remain top of the list and will continue to affect more people in the future.”
The Global Climate Risk Index 2010 (see world map in the Appendix) compiled by Germanwatch, shows that the top 10 countries most affected in the past 20 years by extremes of climate are: Bangladesh, Myanmar, Honduras, Vietnam, Nicaragua, Haiti, India, the Dominican Republic, Philippines, and China. The Global Climate Risk Index analyzes the impacts of weather-related loss events––mainly storms, floods and heat waves––and is based on the NatCatSERVICE database of Munich Re.

Food and Water Security
The Pacific Institute’s recently updated online chronology of water conflicts shows 6 incidents during 2009, up from 3 in 2008. Peter Gleick, President of the Pacific Institute, notes that a pattern of localized conflict is likely to emerge in sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, India, China, Pakistan, and Burma in coming decades. Although skeptical about ‘water war’ or full-scale interstate warfare triggered by water, he suggests that water and climate change should still be considered serious security issues. Terrorist groups could start to view water infrastructure as valuable targets as tensions rise over water’s availability, says Gleick. In addition, in countries like Pakistan, discontent with the West could intensify as water becomes scarcer, which could help extremists bring in new recruits.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) collection of three technical papers provides an overview of the current status of knowledge on “Climate Change and Implications for Fisheries and Aquaculture,” noting that ecosystem approaches to aquaculture and fisheries, as well as precautionary management, can help improve the resilience of the sectors and calling for the integration of fisheries and aquaculture into national climate change and food security policies.
The UN World Water Assessment Programme released two publications: “The Implications of Climate Change for Water––Highlights on Climate Change from the third World Water Development Report” addressing the potential impacts of a changing climate on the availability of water and on the control of water extremes; and “Water and Climate Change––An Overview from the WWDR,” that underscores that water is at the root of a complex vulnerability dynamic and describes the impacts of climate change on water, making some recommendations for responses to climate change focused on water and proactive adaptation measures.
The study “Local Responses to Too Much and Too Little Water in the Greater Himalayan Region” by a consortium of international organizations, based on the work of five field teams in China, India, Pakistan and Nepal, highlights that adaptation practices need to be aligned with other processes if they are to be successful, even over a short period. It also stresses the need for governments to prioritize the development and improvement of national and regional policies to provide better support for local long-term resilience and adaptation to more extreme climate.

Health
Two reports by the World Health Organization, “Global Health Risks”and “Protecting health from climate change: global research priorities,” assess the potential health implications related to climate change, with detailed global and regional estimates, and making some policy recommendations. Acknowledging that only some of the many potential effects of climate change are quantifiable, it underlines increased deaths from thermal extremes and weather disasters, vector-borne diseases, a higher incidence of food-related and waterborne infections, photochemical air pollutants and conflict over depleted natural resources. The WHO fact file, “10 Facts on Children’s Environmental Health,” summarizes environment-related causes and conditions of the nearly three million annual deaths of children under five years old, underlying the increased risk of children of injuries and death from floods and extreme temperatures, asthma and respiratory diseases due to air pollution, and diarrheal diseases, malaria, and malnutrition.

Melting Glaciers and Sea Ice
The report “Melting Snow and Ice: A Call for Action” notes that land ice melting is now becoming the dominant contributor to sea level rise, while receding glaciers threaten the livelihood of millions of people by inundation as well as decline of freshwater. The most important findings include: Greenland ice cap reduction rate tripled over the past decade; snow cover is diminishing, and glaciers from the Himalayas to the Alps are melting rapidly, with the greatest reductions in the Andes and the Rockies; while Antarctica, which seemed immune to global warming, now shows signs of net ice reduction on a similar scale to inland Greenland.
According to the report “Antarctic Climate Change and the Environment” by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, although the bulk of the Antarctic ice sheet has shown little change, overall, 90% of the Peninsula’s glaciers have retreated in recent decades. While since 1980 there has been a 10% increase in Antarctic sea ice extent, particularly in the Ross Sea region, regional sea ice has decreased west of the Antarctic Peninsula. Loss of ice from the West Antarctic ice sheet might raise sea level by 1.4 meters (4ft 6in) by 2100, estimates the report.
According to a new study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, infragravity waves generated by ocean-storms could cause dramatic ice breakups far away from the storm’s origin, as the energy from the waves hitting a shore is echoed back into the sea for thousands of miles. Warming waters will likely aggravate the phenomena.

Migration
In view of the fact that Pacific Islanders are among the most affected by climate change, UNHCR has partnered with other agencies to form a Pacific Humanitarian Protection Group, which will help map and analyze the protection needs of people in the region, and address disaster preparedness, mitigation and adaptation together.
Tuvalu, the fourth-smallest nation on Earth, might become the first country to be rendered unlivable by global warming. Nevertheless, the relocation of some Tuvalu communities has been well-managed so far, given its small population. However, the situation might get more difficult for the relocation of population from other areas vulnerable to climate change such as Africa’s Sahel, coastal Bangladesh, and Vietnam’s deltas. The displacement of those populations could be “a phenomenon of a scope not experienced in human history,” warns Koko Warner, an expert on climate change and migration at the United Nations University in Bonn.
A UNHCR working paper “Climate change, disaster, displacement and migration: initial evidence from Africa,” based on evidence from Burundi and Somalia, indicates that the frequency of climate-related disasters has increased in the past two decades and underscores that disasters and environmental degradation can trigger displacement and conflicts, which can further accentuate environmental degradation.
A report by the Norwegian Refugee Council, “Climate Changed: People Displaced” also explores who are affected by climate related displacement, and how they are assisted and protected, when displaced within the borders of their own country or across borders.

Adaptation
“Climate Change, Conflict and Fragility”. a new report by International Alert, advises that adaptation strategies should be conflict sensitive and international responses to disasters and conflict should take into account the interlinked nature of the problems. Peace-building, for example, needs to be climate-proofed by paying attention to the availability of resources such as water for agriculture which could be affected by climate change. Similarly, large amount of funds for adaptation given to vulnerable states could encourage warfare unless adequate attention is paid to the systems of power and political reality in these countries. Dan Smith, Secretary General of International Alert and co-author of the report, warned “there is an enormous risk that money will go astray and end up doing more harm than good.”
“Linking Climate Change Policies to Human Development Analysis and Advocacy” by UNDP aims to integrate human development analysis and advocacy into more equitable, sustainable and climate-resilient development planning and policy debates. The guidance note proposes a conceptual framework for the analysis and provides analytical data, policy and advocacy issues that can be adapted to regional and national contexts.

Climate Modeling and Scenarios
A new scenario developed by Climate Analytics to the request of Greenpeace Switzerland is forecasting global warming by considering the Swiss climate policy model at world level and linearly extending the policy trend up to 2020 to 2100. By these assumptions, global emissions peak at 60 Gt CO2 in the 2050s, and drop below 50 Gt CO2 by 2100. The best-estimate global warming in this scenario is 1°C by 2020, 1.8°C by 2050 and 3°C above pre-industrial by 2100.
Sources:
Global-average temperature data released http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/pressoffice/2009/pr20091208a.html
Joint Press Release: 55 Million People Affected by Extreme Weather Disasters in 2009 http://www.unisdr.org/preventionweb/files/12035_PRUNDPUNISDRWMOCopenhagen14Dec2009.pdf
Global Climate Risk Index 2010 - reflecting most severely affected countries over almost two decades http://www.germanwatch.org/presse/2009-12-08e.htm
Water Conflict Chronology List http://www.worldwater.org/conflict/list/
Special Report: Water and Climate Change - An Overview from the WWDR http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0018/001863/186318e.pdf
Global Health Risks http://www.who.int/healthinfo/global_burden_disease/GlobalHealthRisks_report_full.pdf
Melting Snow and Ice: A Call for Action http://www.regjeringen.no/en/dep/ud/Whats-new/news/2009/melting-snow-and-ice-a-call-for-action.html?id=587681
Storm 'Echoes' Could Break Up Ice Shelves http://news.discovery.com/earth/storm-echoes-antarctica-ice-sheets.html
Pacific islanders face the reality of climate change . . . and of relocation http://www.unhcr.org/4b264c836.html
Climate Changed: People Displaced http://www.nrc.no/?did=9448676
Climate Change, Conflict and Fragility http://www.international-alert.org/press/Climate_change_conflict_and_fragility_Nov09.pdf
Linking Climate Change Policies to Human Development Analysis and Advocacy http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/Climate_Change_NHDR_Guidance_Note.pdf
Projected global warming under a worldwide climate policy following Switzerland's example http://www.greenpeace.ch/fileadmin/user_upload/Downloads/de/Klima/Klimastudie/2009_Stu_Projected_global_warming.pdf

No Enforcement Mechanism Proposed for Strengthening the Bioweapons Treaty Due to “rapidly changing nature” of the threat
The 2009 Meeting of States Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention was held in Geneva, December 7–11, with focus on promoting capacity-building in the areas of disease surveillance, detection, diagnosis, and containment of infectious diseases. The new National Strategy for Countering Biological Threats presented by the U.S., although a comprehensive document designed to strengthen the Convention, doesn’t propose any international monitoring or enforcement system. A binding treaty on verification “would not be able to keep pace with the rapidly changing nature of the biological weapons threat,” noted Undersecretary of State Ellen Tauscher. [Related items: U.S. Should Launch a New Biology Initiative in October 2009, and Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) Meeting Improves International Resilience Systems to Address Infectious Disease and BioWeapons in August 2009 environmental security reports.]
Sources: (see an expanded list in the Appendix)
President Obama Releases National Strategy for Countering Biological Threats http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/president-obama-releases-national-strategy-countering-biological-threats
Biological Weapons Convention Meeting of States Parties Concludes in Geneva
http://www.unog.ch/80256EDD006B9C2E/(httpNewsByYear_en)/77D5F2659E3558E5C125768C00324E30?OpenDocument

China to Create an Emergency Environmental Management System
China’s Vice Minister of Environmental Protection, Zhang Lijun, announced that one of the ministry’s priorities for 2010 is the creation of an environmental management system for addressing pollution and its effects. Reportedly, “environmental protection authorities at all levels should focus on the handling of mass disturbances triggered by environmental pollution such as water and soil pollution, and reduce the harm that pollution bring to people as much as possible.” A two-year nationwide campaign will be conducted to investigate all pollution-related threats, “which will gradually form a dynamic environmental management system,” says Zhang. [Related item: China’s New Ministry of Environmental Protection in March 2008 environmental security report.]
Note: A new poll of Chinese public opinion on ‘What does China see as its greatest threat?’ shows that Chinese are more concerned by the environment and domestic woes than potential geopolitical enemies. The study, conducted by the Lowy Institute for International Policy and the MacArthur Foundation, revealed that 75% of Chinese consider environmental problems such as climate change as a major threat to China’s security, 67% consider water and food shortages, and 58% internal separatists, while only 50% thought the U.S. posed a security threat, and 45% are still worried about Japan.
Source:
China to establish emergency environmental management system http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-12/29/content_12725490.htm
Chinese See Environment As Biggest Security Threat http://blog.newsweek.com/blogs/wealthofnations/archive/2009/12/10/chinese-see-environment-as-biggest-security-threat.aspx

Toxic Compound Detected in Chlorinated Tap Water
Xing-Fang Li and a team of scientists at the University of Alberta have discovered minute amounts (a few ng/l) of one of the toxic dichloroquinone compounds in chlorinated tap water. It is suspected that these compounds may pose a risk of bladder cancer. [Related item: New Substances Identified as Harmful to Human Health and the Environment in June 2009 environmental security report.]
Sources:
A Toxic Disinfection By-product, 2,6-Dichloro-1,4-benzoquinone, Identified in Drinking Water http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/123218235/abstract
Tracing the traces: Nanogram concentrations of a toxic compound detected in chlorinated tap water http://www.physorg.com/news180767147.html

Environmental Effects from Flame Retardant Manufacturing Impurities
A research team from Canada’s National Laboratory for Environmental Testing has found that environmental pollution associated with the flame retardant Dechlorane Plus comes not only from that compound but from impurities introduced during its manufacture. [Related item: Dechlorane Plus® Detected in Atmosphere in January 2006 environmental security report.]
Source:
Flame retardants are the suspected source of a new compound in the environment http://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/es903688s

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Increase Ocean Noise Pollution
New research reveals that oceans are becoming noisier due to declines of the concentration of chemicals that absorb sound as result of ocean acidification caused by increased concentrations of CO2. Model simulations show that increased acidity could reduce sound absorption (mostly of lower frequency range) by 60% by 2100 in high latitude oceans, potentially affecting marine life. The study, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, was conducted by researchers at the University of Hawaii School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology. [Related items: Sonar Restrictions Debate Continues in January 2008, and New Measures for Improving Marine Environment in July 2009 environmental security reports.]
Sources:
Ocean noise pollution turns up with greenhouse gas emissions http://www.starbulletin.com/news/20091227_Ocean_noise_pollution_turns_up_with_greenhouse_gas_emissions.html
Oceans becoming nosier thanks to pollution http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayarticleNew.asp?section=todaysfeatures&xfile=data/todaysfeatures/2009/December/todaysfeatures_December37.xml

Arctic “Pole of Peace” Suggested to Address Arctic Security Issues
In view of the increasingly heated debate over the Arctic due to increased access to resources, a group of Arctic security experts suggest that the U.S. should take the lead in proposing that the central Arctic Ocean be declared a “pole of peace and international cooperation based on shared interests in environmental security,” and invite Canada, Denmark, Norway and Russia to endorse the initiative. This might address the controversies over sovereign rights and jurisdiction. [Related items: New Developments by Canada and the U.S. in Arctic Security in August 2009 and other items in previous environmental security reports.]
Sources:
United States leadership needed in Arctic Ocean http://juneauempire.com/stories/120309/opi_531556737.shtml

Nuclear Disarmament Dilemma Continues
The US/Russia negotiations for a legal framework to replace the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I), which expired on December 5, 2009, are expected to be restarted in mid-January 2010. Meantime, they pledged to continue working “in the spirit” of the 1991 pact. Reportedly, a major cause of the delay in concluding a new treaty is disagreement over compliance verification mechanisms. However, failure to reach agreement before the next Review conference might jeopardize nuclear non-proliferation advancements.
Meantime, the UN General Assembly, acting on the recommendation of its Disarmament and International Security Committee, adopted 16 texts in the nuclear weapons category, including a resolution naming August 29 as the international day against nuclear tests; beginning of negotiations in 2010 for a treaty for banning fissile material use for nuclear weapons; and a renewed determination towards the total global elimination of nuclear weapons (adopted by an overwhelming margin, with only India and North Korea voting against, and Bhutan, China, Cuba, France, Iran, Israel, Myanmar and Pakistan abstaining).
The report “Eliminating Nuclear Threats: A Practical Agenda for Global Policymakers” by the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament evaluates the threats and risks associated with the existing nuclear weapons, highlighting their potential use by accident, miscalculation or design, or falling into the hands of terrorist actors, and calls upon nations with nuclear arms to adopt a “no first use” stand, as well as a reduction of nuclear arsenal to 2,000 weapons by 2025, roughly 10% of today’s stockpile. The 230-page report compares nuclear weapons to climate change in terms of gravity, although underlining their much higher potential immediate impact. [Related item: UN Security Council Resolution on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in September 2009 environmental security report.]
Sources:
START Talks to Continue in Geneva in January: Dec. 22 State Department Briefing http://geneva.usmission.gov/2009/12/23/start-talks/
On Recommendation of First Committee, General Assembly Adopts 54 Texts, Sets Aside Four Weeks in 2012 to Hammer Out Legally Binding Arms Trade Treaty http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2009/ga10898.doc.htm
Commission Report Launched in Tokyo: Towards a Nuclear Weapon Free World http://www.icnnd.org/releases/091215_report.html

Nanotechnology Safety Issues

NanoAssociation for Natural Resources and Energy Security (NANRES) Formed
A group of nanotechnology-interested companies have formed the NanoAssociation for Natural Resources and Energy Security (NANRES), which, according to Nanowerk News, "is designed to advance the research, development, and commercialization of innovative energy and environmental-specific nanotechnologies."
Sources:
NanoAssociation for Natural Resources and Energy Security (NANRES) http://www.nanres.org/
New nanotechnology association established to address 21st century natural resource and energy security challenges http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=13992.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nanowerk%2FagWB+%28Nanowerk+Nanotechnology+News%29

Tunisia Sets Up Unit for Environmental Applications and Nanotechnology
In Tunisia, the National Agency of Environmental Protection (ANPE) and the Tunisian Association of Nanotechnology have set up a partnership for the creation of a unit for nanotechnology research and environmental applications of nanotechnology.
Source:
Nanotechnology for the Environment http://www.tunisiaonlinenews.com/?p=30787

Global Archive of Government Nanotech Documents Launched
The Center for the Study of Law, Science, & Technology at Arizona State University's Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law has launched the Nanotech Regulatory Document Archive, a global database of government documents on nanotechnology. Each document will be accompanied by an abstract. The archive will be set up as an edited wiki, and, notes Nanowerk News, “Documents for a specific jurisdiction can be accessed by clicking on a map or on a region, nation or entity.”
Sources:
Welcome to the Nanotech Regulatory Document Archive http://nanotech.law.asu.edu/
First global nanotechnology regulation database launched http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=13817.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nanowerk%2FagWB+%28Nanowerk+Nanotechnology+News%29

List of Experts in Nanotechnology Ethics Published
The ObservatoryNano project has published Experts NanoEthics and Ethical, Legal and Social Aspects of Nanotechnology [sic], a comprehensive list of personnel in the field. According to the announcement, it "includes senior academics and consultants, experienced in nanoethics or ethical, legal and social aspects of nanotechnology from different countries in Europe and the rest of the world … [,and in] addition, a list of junior experts including PhD students and young professionals". Each entry includes complete contact information and a note on area of expertise.
Source:
Experts NanoEthics and Ethical, Legal and Social Aspects of Nanotechnology http://www.observatorynano.eu/project/document/2918/

Scientists Object to Generalized Nano-Hazard Statements
A group of distinguished scientists in the nanotechnology field have published an open letter in Nanotoxicology in order "to draw the attention of the nanotoxicology community to how the term 'nanoparticles' is being somewhat indiscriminately used, especially in the titles of scientific papers and in statements to the press." Their objection takes as an example "a recent paper that linked nanoparticles in the most general sense to seven very serious cases of occupational lung and pleural injury occurring in China. The exposures were not characterized, but histological assessment of lung biopsies and pleural fluid indicated the presence of nanoparticles with an unidentified origin or chemistry. Despite a lack of information on the nature of the nanoparticles, the research was published under the title ‘Exposure to nanoparticles is related to pleural effusion, pulmonary fibrosis and granuloma’ ". The panel strongly cautions all involved in communication of nanotech issues to consider the present uncertainties in the study of nanotech pathogenesis, to be precise in stating the technical bases and limitations of studies, and not to make such generalized statements as in the title cited above.
Source:
Nanoparticles – one word: A multiplicity of different hazards http://informahealthcare.com/doi/full/10.3109/17435390903337701

UK Defra Committee Report on Nanosilver
The Advisory Committee On Hazardous Substances of the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has issued its report on nanosilver. The paper (7 pp, with references) states that it reviews information and studies on the environmental exposure and effects of nanoparticulate silver, comments on known or predicted environmental exposure levels and whether these present a human health or environmental risk, and considers what action should be taken to further develop understanding in this area. It does not comment on risk management issues because of insufficient information and because those are the responsibility of the relevant policy and regulatory bodies.
Source:
Advisory Committee on Hazardous Substances Report on Nanosilver http://www.nanoforum.org/dateien/temp/achs-report-nanosilver.pdf?20112009112655

"Environmental and Human Health Impacts of Nanotechnology"
Topics covered in this ten-chapter book include: The properties, preparation and applications of nanomaterials; Characterization and analysis of manufactured nanoparticles; The fate and behaviour of nanomaterials in aquatic, terrestrial and atmospheric environments; Ecotoxicology and human toxicology of manufactured nanoparticles; Occupational health and exposure of nanomaterials; and Risk assessment and global regulatory and policy responses.
Source:
Environmental and Human Health Impacts of Nanotechnology http://www.researchandmarkets.com/reportinfo.asp?report_id=1083599&t=d&cat_id=

December 2009 Nano Magazine Features Nanotech Applications and the Military
Most of the December issue of the UK's Nano Magazine is devoted to articles on various aspects of the military use of nanotechnology.
Source:
NANO Magazine, issue 15, Published December 2009 http://www.nanomagazine.co.uk/read.php?i=121

OECD Publishes Nanomaterials Roadmap and Information Gathering Analyses
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has published Manufactured Nanomaterials: Roadmap for Activities During 2009 and 2010, which, according to Nanowerk News, "presents a brief description of the ways in which the Working Party on Manufactured Nanomaterials (WPMN) contributes to the overall objectives of the Environment, Health and Safety Programme (EHS), and the OECD as a whole." It has also issued Analysis of Information Gathering Initiatives on Manufactured Nanomaterials, which specifies a desirable set of information elements, and considerations and recommendations for countries planning such an activity, and summarizes existing efforts in seven countries.
Military Implications:
Military personnel involved in nanotech risk assessment should review these publications for useful ideas.
Sources:
OECD Nanomaterials Roadmap http://www.olis.oecd.org/olis/2009doc.nsf/LinkTo/NT00004E1A/$FILE/JT03269258.PDF
OECD Information Gathering Analyses http://www.olis.oecd.org/olis/2009doc.nsf/LinkTo/NT00006F1E/$FILE/JT03274953.PDF
OECD publishes manufactured nanomaterials roadmap 2010 http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=13990.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nanowerk%2FagWB+%28Nanowerk+Nanotechnology+News%29

NIOSH Updates Its Nanotechnology Web Resources
According to Nanowerk News, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has updated a number of its on-line publications and sites. They include:
Progress Toward Safe Nanotechnology in the Workplace, Publication No. 2010-104. Updates on 43 NIOSH projects on risk assessment, and on extramural research. http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2010-104/default.html
Strategic Plan for NIOSH Nanotechnology Research and Guidance, Publication No. 2010-105. Research planned by NIOSH for 2009-2012 http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2010-105/default.html
NIOSH Nanotech Web Topic Page http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/nanotech/
Nanoparticle Information Library http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/nanotech/NIL.html
Source:
NIOSH updates its nanotechnology web resources http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=13932.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nanowerk%2FagWB+(Nanowerk+Nanotechnology+News)

New On-line Nanotech Information Service
Knovel, an online technical information company, has announced availability of subscriptions to its Nanotechnology collection, with content focused on nanoscale materials, nanostructure-dependent properties and phenomena data as well as fabrication and manufacturing techniques. It includes a section on Environmental Nanotechnology and Environmental Safety.
Source:
Knovel Launches Nanotechnology Collection http://why.knovel.com/company/press/345-knovel-launches-nanotechnology-collection-.html

New book: Nanoethics: Big Ethical Issues With Small Technology
According to the Nanowerk News review, "This book explores in an accessible and informative way how nanotechnology is likely to impact the lives of ordinary people in the coming years and why ethical reflection on nanotechnology is needed now. Articulate, provocative and stimulating, this timely book will make a significant contribution to one of the most important debates of our time." Military applications is one of the topics discussed.
Sources:
Nanoethics Big Ethical Issues with Small Technology http://www.continuumbooks.com/books/detail.aspx?BookId=132355&SearchType=Basic
Nanoethics: Big ethical issues with small technology http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=13819.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nanowerk%2FagWB+%28Nanowerk+Nanotechnology+News%29

Industry Silver Nanotech Group Opposes "New Material" Designation
The Silver Nanotechnology Working Group (SNWG) has released the content of a presentation it made to EPA's Scientific Advisory Panel on the topic of "Evaluation of Hazard and Exposure Associated with Nanosilver and Other Nanometal Oxide Pesticide Products". In it, the group stated that EPA has safely and successfully regulated these products for decades, and that "calls for treatment of nanosilver as a new material requiring development of expensive new test regimes and discriminatory regulatory consideration are difficult to justify."
Source:
Silver Nanotechnology Working Group: EPA Has Safely Regulated Nanosilver for Decades http://www.silverinstitute.org/snwg.php

Green Nano: Challenges of Sustainability Conference to Be Held in Germany
The Green Nano: Challenges of Sustainability - Saving Resources & Protecting Life conference will be held 26 - 27 January 2010 at DECHEMA-House, Frankfurt am Main, Germany. The program will include 21 talks, and poster presentations.
Source:
Green Nano: Challenges of Sustainability. Frankfurt am Main, 26 - 27 January 2010 http://www.processnet.org/en/cnt10.html

Reports and Information Suggested for Review

State of the World 2010 Calls for a New Paradigm in Addressing Security
Worldwatch Institute’s annual report State of the World 2010: Transforming Cultures; From Consumerism to Sustainability is a comprehensive assessment of the strategies and measures necessary for improving humanity’s prospects by switching away from consumerism-based patterns. Concerning security, the report argues that as “it will become increasingly clear that the biggest threats to national security are not foreign armies or terrorist groups but the weakened state of the planet,” there will be important changes to the security and legal systems, including new concepts such as “Earth jurisprudence,” while a more balanced military-to-climate budget would “do more to protect people than the largest nuclear arsenal ever could, and in the process it will create additional economic opportunities and new openings to improve diplomatic relations between countries.” The recommendations include, inter alia, the establishment of global political institutions for guaranteeing security, and increasing use of environmental restoration, diplomacy, and cooperation for addressing conflict.
Source:
State of the World 2010. Transforming Cultures: From Consumerism to Sustainability http://blogs.worldwatch.org/transformingcultures/contents/

Summary of European Battery Regulations Released
The environmental consulting firm Enhesa has published its 2009 Batteries Report, with a detailed comparative analysis of the regulatory requirements, including take-back and disposal, in nine European countries compared to the EU Batteries Directive 2006/66/EC.
Sources:
Enhesa Releases Battery Report 2009 Will Santa Claus break the law? The European Batteries Directive http://www.enhesa.com/en/docs/PressRelease_Enhesa_Batteries_final_200912.pdf
Enhesa Batteries Report 2009 http://www.enhesa.com/en/service/docs/Enhesa_Batteries_Report_2009.pdf

Water Treatment Technologies for the Removal of High-Toxicity Pollutants
“Water Treatment Technologies for the Removal of High-Toxity Pollutants,” part of the NATO Science for Peace and Security Series C: Environmental Security, presents the proceedings of the NATO Advanced Research Workshop with the same name, held September 13–17, 2008 in Košice, Slovak Republic. It is an overview of problems related to high toxicity pollutants in the environment, especially in drinking waters, some technologies for water treatment, as well as policy aspects for increasing environmental security.
Source:
Water Treatment Technologies for the Removal of High-Toxity Pollutants http://www.springerlink.com/content/978-90-481-3495-3?sa_campaign=email/NBA

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November 2009

China and U.S. Announce Climate Change Goals
China announced it will reduce carbon emissions per unit of GDP by 40 to 45% of 2005 levels, by 2020. The U.S. announced its goal of reducing its emissions by 17% (regardless of emissions per unit of GDP) during this period, matching legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. Both President Obama and Premier Wen will attend the Climate Change conference in Copenhagen in December along with more than 85 heads of state and government (confirmed as of November 30, 2009.) Premier Wen Jiabao has also hosted a group from developing countries including India and Brazil to create a technology transfer position from richer countries in exchange for developing countries’ mitigation efforts.
Sources:
China announces carbon reduction targets http://english.cctv.com/program/bizchina/20091126/104112.shtml
President to Attend Copenhagen Climate Talks http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/president-attend-copenhagen-climate-talks
Big Developing Countries Form Climate Change Front http://planetark.org/wen/55688

Changes to War Crimes Proposed for the International Criminal Court
The 8th session of the Assembly of States Parties to the International Criminal Court discussed proposals to amend the Rome Statute. Belgium proposed modifying Article 8 to cover use of certain weapons (chemicals, gases, and certain bullets) for international and non-international conflict situations and expanding the list of war crimes to include use of chemical, biological, and some conventional weapons, and anti-personnel mines. These proposals are considered relatively non-controversial so as not to deter non-parties from ratifying the Rome Statute and to be consistent with other multilateral agreements in force and with international customary law. Mexico proposed adding the employment or the threat to employ nuclear weapons to article 8. The Netherlands proposed inclusion of Crime of Terrorism under Article 5: Crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court. The first Review Conference on the Rome Statute will be held May 31-June 11, 2010, in Kampala, Uganda.
Sources:
Report of the Bureau on the Review Conference; Addendum. ICC-ASP/8/43/Add.1, 10 Nov., 2009 http://www.icc-cpi.int/iccdocs/asp_docs/ASP8/ICC-ASP-8-43-Add.1-ENG.pdf
Report of the Bureau on the Review Conference. ICC-ASP/8/43, 15 November 2009 http://www.icc-cpi.int/iccdocs/asp_docs/ASP8/ICC-ASP-8-43-ENG.pdf

Increased Calls for Banning Nonlethal Riot-control Agents
Should advances in non-lethal riot control agents be considered in the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)? Currently, the Chemical Weapons Convention and its enforcement mechanisms do not apply to non-lethal riot control agents, incapacitants, and certain munitions containing chemical agents. The nature of the global chemical industry and chemical warfare materials are evolving outside international regulations. A report, Dangerous Ambiguities: Regulation of Riot Control Agents and Incapacitants under the Chemical Weapons Convention by Michael Crowley of the University of Bradford Non-Lethal Weapons Research Project documents these problems. It notes that the danger of “misuse of riot control agents by law enforcement officials, military personnel and private military company employees” grows exponentially as research on these agents proliferates around the world. The report recommends that the next (third) CWC review conference, scheduled for 2013, considers clarifying ambiguities that undermine effective enforcement of the Convention with regard to such weapons and, in the meantime, adopt a moratorium on weaponization of incapacitants. Some states, led by Switzerland, show an increased interest in discussing a legal framework for incapacitants. [Related item: Eleventh Chemical Weapons Convention in December 2006 environmental security report]
Sources:
Danger of "Nonlethal" Agents Grows Amid States' Inaction, Report Says http://gsn.nti.org/gsn/nw_20091106_8443.php
Dangerous Ambiguities: Regulation of Riot Control Agents and Incapacitants under the Chemical Weapons Convention. Michael Crowley, 2009 http://www.brad.ac.uk/acad/nlw/publications/BNLWRPDangerous1.pdf

Technological Advances with Environmental Security Implications

New Technique Helps Reduce Nanoparticle Wastewater Pollution
Scientists at the UK’s Centre for Ecology & Hydrology have discovered that coating nanoparticles with a surfactant causes them to clump together and form a removable solid sludge when they appear in wastewater as a result of their use (now widespread) in commercial products, enabling them to be cleared from treatment plant effluent streams.
Source:
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. New discovery may help manage nanoparticle wastes from consumer products
http://www.ceh.ac.uk/news/press/Managenanoparticlewastesfromconsumerproducts.asp

Evaporation Provides Power in New Desalination System
Saltworks Technologies in Vancouver, BC, Canada claims to have developed a desalination technology that uses up to 80% less energy than current commercial processes, according to the originators. The method depends on using heat in the environment to evaporate salty water to a high degree of concentration, and then setting up an “ionic current” which removes the Na and Cl components. The result, according to the developers, is a system that needs only enough external energy to drive its pumps.
Sources:
Saltworks Technologies Company http://www.saltworkstech.com
Breakthrough in Energy Efficient Desalination Technology http://www.globe-net.com/green_tech/listing.cfm?ID_Report=1856
A fresh way to take the salt out of seawater http://www.economist.com/sciencetechnology/displaystory.cfm?story_id=14743791

Increasing Energy Efficiency Technologies
New Tool for Reducing Carbon Emissions from Building Construction Projects
The Rocky Mountain Institute has released a new on-line computational tool, Green Footstep, which provides the design targets required to achieve carbon neutrality, net zero site energy, and other environmental objectives for a building construction project. It is based on information input about the location and other characteristics of the building, and the local ecosystem. The Green Footstep will produce a carbon emissions performance report for all phases of the work.
Source:
Green Footstep http://greenfootstep.org

Quantum Dots Offer New Possibilities for Energy from Waste Heat
Peter Hagelstein, an associate professor of electrical engineering at MIT, and associates have published a paper setting forth new results that promise major improvements in devices for converting waste heat into electrical energy, offering both high efficiency and high throughput power. Additional technological development will be needed, but MTPV Corp. of Boston is working on exploitation of these ideas.
Sources:
Better way to harness waste heat with quantum dot devices http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=13604.php
Quantum-coupled single-electron thermal to electric conversion scheme http://scitation.aip.org/getabs/servlet/GetabsServlet?prog=normal&id=JAPIAU000106000009094315000001&idtype=cvips&gifs=yes

Software Standards to Connect Data Globally
Denis Havlik of the Austrian Institute of Technology is coordinating an EU FP6 project, Sensors Anywhere (SANY), which embodies the technical capability to allow the free exchange and use of environmental monitoring data regardless of its source. SANY allows a user to search for and retrieve raw or processed environmental data using standardized methods and to receive it in a standard format set out by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGS).
In another project with a related goal, the University of New Mexico, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and associated institutions worldwide are beginning work on establishing DataONE, a global data access and preservation network "for organizing and providing large amounts of highly diverse and interrelated but often incompatible scientific data", according to ORNL's Robert Cook.
Sources:
SANY Project http://sany-ip.eu/
Open shop for environmental data http://www.physorg.com/news177671377.html
DataONE http://dataone.org
DataONE helping scientists deal with data deluge http://www.physorg.com/news177765736.html

Updates on Previously Identified Issues

New Decisions Adopted for Strengthening the Montreal Protocol
The 21st meeting of Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (MOP21), held in Port Ghalib, Egypt, November 4-8, 2009, adopted 30 decisions, including examining alternatives to hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), environmentally sound management of banks of the ozone depleting substance methyl bromide; and data and compliance issues. A North American proposal on phasing down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) was withdrawn after China, India, and several Arab countries disagreed with discussing HFCs under the Montreal Protocol. [Related item: Powerful Greenhouse Gas HFCs Might be banned under the Montreal Protocol in the August 2009 environmental security report.]
Sources:
Documents of the 21st Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol, 4-8 November, 2009 http://ozone.unep.org/Meeting_Documents/mop/21mop/index.shtml
Twenty-first meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer http://www.iisd.ca/ozone/mop21/

UNECE Guidance on Water and Adaptation to Climate Change
The fifth meeting of the parties to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention) was held November 10-12, 2009 in Geneva. It adopted the Guidance on Water and Adaptation to Climate Change to help address the impacts of climate change on transboundary freshwater. The Guidance provides an overview of multilateral agreements related to water issues, and an interdisciplinary methodology on how to develop and implement an adaptation strategy in a transboundary context, as well as recommendations to decisionmakers and water managers on how to assess impacts of climate change on water quantity and quality, perform risk and vulnerability assessments, and design and implement appropriate adaptation strategies. It also contains about 40 case studies. [Related item: Draft European Transboundary Guidance on Water and Adaptation to Climate Change in September 2009 environmental security report.]
Source:
Guidance on Water and Adaptation to Climate Change http://www.unece.org/env/documents/2009/Wat/mp_wat/ECE_MP.WAT_30_E.pdf

International Gene Synthesis Consortium Created for Increasing Biosecurity
Five companies that represent about 80% of global gene synthesis capacity have formed the International Gene Synthesis Consortium for increasing the security of their products, preventing misuse of gene synthesis technology, and helping to prevent bioterrorism and the use of manufactured DNA sequences in producing lethal disease agents. The Consortium’s “Harmonized Screening Protocol for Gene Sequence & Customer Screening to Promote Biosecurity” creates a framework for safe use of synthetic genes covering aspects related to: screening of transactions and customers, record keeping, and regulatory compliance. In the meantime, the International Association of Synthetic Biology finalized the Code of Conduct for Best Practices in Gene Synthesis, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) held a ‘Symposium on Future Challenges of International Law: The Way Forward in Patenting Biotechnology’ on November 25, 2009, to address the challenging interface between biotechnology, intellectual property rights, and international trade (the outcomes were not yet available at the time of this writing.) [Related item: Synthetic Gene Ordering Security Screening Up for Discussion in September 2009 environmental security report.]
Sources:
World’s Top Gene Synthesis Companies Establish Tough Biosecurity Screening Protocol http://www.genesynthesisconsortium.org/November_19.html
Gene Synthesis Companies Pledge to Foil Bioterrorists http://blogs.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2009/11/gene-synthesis.html
Code of Conduct for Best Practices in Gene Synthesis http://www.ia-sb.eu/go/synthetic-biology/activities/press-area/press-information/code-of-conduct-for-best-practices-in-gene-synthesis/
Symposium on Future Challenges of International Law: the Way Forward in Patenting Biotechnology http://www.wipo.int/meetings/en/2009/wipo_ls_biot_ge_09/

UK and US Legislators Review Geoengineering Proposals
The US House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology held a hearing to examine the scientific, engineering, ethical, economic, and governance aspects of geoengineering and intends to hold two or three more. The UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee has plans for studying whether geoengineering would require new national or international regulations. The two groups plan a partnership, holding parallel hearings and sharing materials when they are publicly available. [Related item: London Convention Might be Expanded to Include Ocean-based Geoengineering in November 2007 environmental security report.]
Sources:
Geoengineering Gets a Hearing in Congress -- and in the U.K., Too http://industry.bnet.com/energy/10002452/geoengineering-gets-a-congressional-hearing-and-the-uk-too/
Geoengineering: Assessing the Implications of Large-Scale Climate Intervention http://science.house.gov/publications/hearings_markups_details.aspx?newsid=2668
Ken Caldeira Testifies to Congress on Geoengineering http://www.ciw.edu/news/ken_caldeira_testifies_congress_geoengineering

EPA Issues New Regulations on Water Pollution from Construction
The Environmental Protection Agency has issued a final rule to be phased in over four years to help reduce water pollution from construction sites. Builders must use best management practices to ensure that construction activity does not pollute nearby bodies of water; and, for larger projects, they must also monitor discharges and ensure they comply with specific limits. [Related item: Fiber Check Dams with Chemicals Control Polluting Construction Runoff in April 2009 environmental security report.]
Sources:
Construction and Development. Final Effluent Guidelines http://www.epa.gov/waterscience/guide/construction
EPA Issues Rule to Reduce Water Pollution from Construction Sites http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/3881d73f4d4aaa0b85257359003f5348/46b167e60dac2c2185257677005bf4fa!OpenDocument

Ultrathin Solar Panels Could End Up On the EU list of Hazardous Materials, Due to Cadmium Content
The ultrathin photovoltaic panels, favored over the conventional crystalline models because they are more versatile, contain cadmium telluride for converting light to electricity. Since cadmium is banned from most products in Europe, rather than amending the law, the EU is expected to propose a way of pressuring solar companies to come up with alternatives to cadmium telluride, e.g., by requiring them to apply for four-year, renewable grace periods. A French government report concluded that risks to human health from cadmium exposure during normal operation of the panels were negligible. One of the largest U.S. panel manufacturers has set up a voluntary system that would be funded in advance to recycle and reuse 95% of the cadmium and tellurium in its modules sold worldwide. [Related items: RoHS Closer to Deadline in May 2006 and UN E-Waste Forum and Basel Convention’s Conference of Parties in December 2006 environmental security reports.]
Source:
Balancing energy needs and material hazards http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/09/business/energy-environment/09iht-green09.html

Climate Change
Scientific Evidence and Natural Disasters
Global mean warming might reach 7°C (12.6°F) by the end of the century, without drastic mitigation efforts, estimate scientists contributing to the IPCC AR5, due in 2013. The Copenhagen Diagnosis is “an interim scientific evaluation” prepared for the December climate Summit. Similarly, the Global Carbon Project warns that unless urgent actions are taken to reduce CO2 emissions, global temperatures are on course to rise by about 6°C by the end of the century. They estimate that emissions rose by 29% between 2000 and 2008, and suggest that in order to limit global temperature rise to 2°C, average carbon emissions per capita for goods and services should be reduced to 0.3 metric tons by 2050, from 1.3 metric tons now.
The 2008 Greenhouse Gas Bulletin by the World Meteorological Organization also reveals that the global trend of rising atmospheric global greenhouse gases (GHG) continues. Globally, the averaged mixing ratios of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) reached new highs in 2008; and, while some halocarbons, such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), are decreasing slowly as a result of the implementation of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, concentrations of their substitutes, such as HCFCs and HFCs, are increasing rapidly. Simultaneously, the first comprehensive study accounting for oceans’ intake of CO2 over the past 250 years reveals that since 2000, as the oceans’ acidity increases, their carbon-sequestration capacity is declining. Therefore, “we cannot count on these sinks operating in the future as they have in the past, and keep on subsidizing our ever-growing appetite for fossil fuels,” says lead author, oceanographer Samar Khatiwala, from Columbia University. A recent assessment financed by the Global Environment Facility indicates that 61 of the world’s 64 large marine ecosystems experienced a significant increase in sea surface temperatures in the last 25 years.

Food and Water Security
Food Security and Agricultural Mitigation in Developing Countries: Options for Capturing Synergies, released by FAO prior to the World Summit on Food Security, says that 70% of agriculture’s mitigation potential can be realized in developing countries. The report highlights the importance of considering food security, agricultural mitigation, adaptation, and development in global agendas and national strategies for addressing climate change, and it stresses the need for reaching global consensus on measurable, reportable, and verifiable requirements. Agriculture adaptability was also the main theme of the World Summit on Food Security held at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy, November16-18, 2009. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon underlined that “there can be no food security without climate security.” The Summit adopted a Declaration that outlines strategic objectives, commitments and actions, and establishes the Five Rome Principles for Sustainable Global Food Security.
The World Bank report Agricultural Development Under a Changing Climate: Opportunities and Challenges for Adaptation, focuses on rural development in the context of climate risk management and adaptation, particularly on issues of seasonal climate forecasting, water management in rain-fed and irrigated production systems, sustainable land management, crop and livestock breeding, crop genetic diversity, seed systems, pests, and urban and peri-urban agriculture.
The FAO policy brief Climate Change and Food Security in the Pacific warns that climate change will have serious impacts on agriculture, forestry, and fisheries in the Pacific islands, leading to increased food insecurity and malnutrition. Considering climate change as a “threat multiplier” in a region that is already under severe ecological and economic stress, FAO urged governments and donors to start implementing robust and action-oriented climate change adaptation plans for all Pacific islands.
Aaron Wolf, Program Director in Water Conflict Management and Transformation at Oregon State University, said that the source of potential tensions and conflicts over water is not scarcity but poor capacity to deal with changes in the water basin. He gives as examples some regions that had organizations to oversee shared river basins; including those formed by India and Pakistan, and by Israel and its Arab neighbors, which had remained intact for decades.
Colin Chartres, Director General of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CIGAR) warned that countries depending on snowmelt could expect water levels to drop by up to 30%. He underscored the need for investments amounting to $270 billion in drinking and irrigation infrastructure in Sub-Saharan Africa and India. Along the same lines, the UNEP report, Fresh Water Under Threat, Vulnerability Assessment of Freshwater Resources to Environmental Change, Africa, calls for urgent adaptation measures to combat scientific and technical deficiencies, poor governance and management structures, pollution of water resources, and industrialization and urbanization.

Health
The World Health Organization is increasingly publishing articles that highlight the link between environmental conditions and health, such as the need to examine the spatial distribution of vector-borne diseases in relation to climate change, and design strategies that would help mitigate climate change while also improving human health. The Feeling the Heat report by Save the Children notes that climate change is the 21st century’s biggest global health threat to children, with impacts including: over 900 million children in the next generation to be affected by water shortages; 160 million more children to be at risk of catching malaria; and 175 million children a year to suffer the consequences of natural disasters such as cyclones, droughts, and floods by 2030. It warns that 250,000 children could die next year due to climate change (a figure that could reach 1 million by 2030).

Melting Glaciers and Sea Ice
The interim scientific report, The Copenhagen Diagnosis reveals: summer-time melting of Arctic sea ice surpassed by about 40% the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s forecasts for the period 2007–2009, Greenland and Antarctic ice-sheets are losing mass at an increasing rate, and glaciers and ice-cap melting accelerated in most parts of the world since 1990. Similarly, an analysis of data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (Grace) mission reveals that the East Antarctic ice sheet, thought to be stable, has been losing 57 billion metric tons per year since 2006.

Rising Sea Levels
Sea-level rise might reach 2 meters by 2100, say the new estimates by the interim scientific report The Copenhagen Diagnosis. It notes that global average sea-level rise was 3.4 mm/year over the past 15 years, 80% above the IPCC forecasts, but consistent with an accelerating melting of glaciers, ice caps, and the Greenland and West-Antarctic ice-sheets. The report also underlines that sea level will continue to rise over the next few centuries after global temperature have been stabilized.

Migration
Nearly 10% of the world’s population––500 million to 600 million people––are at risk from displacement by climate change, and up to 150 million “climate refugees” might move to other countries by 2050, predicts the report No Place Like Home by the Environmental Justice Foundation. Some countries––Tuvalu, Fiji, the Solomon Islands, the Marshall Islands, the Maldives and some of the Lesser Antilles––are in danger of losing a significant part of their land in the next 50 years, while others could see large movements of people: Bangladesh, Kenya, Papua New Guinea, Somalia, Yemen, Ethiopia, Chad, and Rwanda.
In an address to the Third Meeting of the Global Forum on Migration and Development held November 4th, in Athens, Greece, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, identified climate change along with human trafficking and economic crisis as a cause of international migration, , therefore emphasizing that protection of vulnerable communities should be a priority of adaptation efforts.

Adaptation
The UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction Secretariat (UNISDR) 2010-2011 Biennial Work Programme: Invest Today for a Safer Tomorrow includes four strategic objectives: 1) accelerate the promotion of national coordination mechanisms for disaster risk reduction with the goal of including climate change concerns; 2) participate in UNFCCC processes; 3) promote joint adaptation and risk reduction measures in countries; and 4) increase global inter-agency coordination on risk analysis and risk reduction, as a tool for climate change adaptation. While the current strategic overview is for two years, the vision, targets, and strategic directions are forward looking to 2015. Key expected outcomes include improved knowledge, strategies, and political and financial commitments, as well as better coherence and coordination among international and regional actors to address climate-related risks.
In partnership with the IPCC, UNISDR is working on a special report, Managing the Risk of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation, to be released in 2011, representing the first global scientific effort to examine the linkages between disaster risk reduction and adaptation to climate change.
A Declaration of ‘climate vulnerable’ States demands that the Copenhagen outcome document include adaptation finance mechanisms to address the needs of the most vulnerable countries, amounting to at least 1.5% of developed countries' GDP (in addition to the 0.7% for overseas development assistance) annually by 2015 to assist developing countries to make their transition to a climate-resilient economy and to address the health, human rights, and security implications of climate change, including communities’ relocation and a legal framework to protect climate refugees. A follow-up Climate Vulnerable States Forum will be held in Kiribati in 2010.
The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity for National and International Policy Makers; Summary: Responding to the Value of Nature assesses reasons and methods for measuring the value of ecosystems and includes a series of recommendations for improving decisions. It highlights that the ratio of benefits to costs for ecosystem protection ranges between 25-to-1 and 100-to-1. For example, expanding marine protection from less than 1% to 30% would cost about $40-50 billion per year, whereas the annual benefit would be about $4-5 trillion. “Recognizing and rewarding the value delivered to society by the natural environment must become a policy priority,” said The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity study leader, Pavan Sukhdev.
The EU estimates that €100 billion ($150 billion) a year by 2020 would cost-effectively address climate change. It estimates it would cost about €7 billion ($10.5 billion) a year for the first three years to “fast-track” funding in the developing world. There is no agreement on who should pay what and if the contributions should be voluntary or mandatory, or linked to the “polluter pays” principle. Chancellor Angela Merkel reportedly said that the European and the U.S. shares should be around one-third each.
The State of World Population 2009 report by the UN Population Fund focuses on the impacts of climate change on the most vulnerable - and poor women specifically. The report argues that the fight against climate change is more likely to be successful if decisions take into account the needs, rights, and potential of women.

Climate Modeling
A newly revised NASA model trying to address the complexities of atmospheric chemistry, suggests that some greenhouse gases have considerably stronger warming effects than previously estimated. When the hydroxyl-consuming effect is factored in, methane’s planet-warming potential is about 28 times more than that of CO2 (compared to 25 times shown by previous studies), while carbon monoxide’s greenhouse warming potential rises from 2.2 times to 3.3 times that of CO2. It further finds that their greenhouse effect increases even further if their inhibiting influence on the formation of planet-cooling clouds is incorporated into the model. The new finding, published in the October 29 Science, reveals the difficulty of making long-term climate predictions under various emissions scenarios. However, the model can help policymakers better assess the potential climatic effects of specific types of emissions and design reduction targets accordingly.
Recent discoveries reveal that it took only six months to plunge Europe into the last ice age. The research, conducted by William Patterson from the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada, using mud deposits from Lough Monreagh lake in western Ireland, shows that 12,800 years ago, most probably due to a sudden slowdown of the Gulf Stream, the northern hemisphere was plunged into a mini-ice age that lasted for 1,300 years. Professor Tim Lenton from the University of East Anglia notes, “In the period from 65,000 to 10,000 years ago there were periods of abrupt warming and cooling roughly every 1,500 years, when the temperature in Greenland might fall or rise by 10°C (18°F) in a decade.”

Post-Kyoto Negotiations
The final round of negotiations before the Climate Summit to be held in Copenhagen took place November 2-6, 2009, in Barcelona, Spain. Despite some progress, concluding a legally binding instrument in Copenhagen remains uncertain. While some suggest that a new mandate might be needed to continue negotiations and possibly reach a global climate pact in 2010, new hopes emerged when Britain suggested the creation of a Copenhagen launch fund for helping poorer states deal with climate change-related challenges. The fund, to begin in 2010, would reach $10 billion per year by 2012. Britain already pledged £800 million ($1.3 billion). The Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (Committee of Ten) mandated to speak on behalf of Africa expressed that Africa expects the agreement to stipulate clear measures for providing Africa technology and capacity-building to “resolve the present climatic crises and spare the continent from catastrophes.” The vulnerable island states also ask for funds and concessions to deal with rising sea level consequences. At the same time, new targets were announced by the world’s largest GHG emitters: U.S. intends to reduce its GHG emissions “in the range of” 17% below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83% by 2050, while China plans to reduce its CO2 intensity — emissions per unit of GDP — by 40–45% by 2020, compared to 2005 levels. The EU already announced its 20/20/20 policy cutting emissions by 20% (30% if other industrialized states follow suit) by 2020 compared to 1990 levels. Brazil, the fourth-biggest GHG contributor, offered a reduction of 36-39% based on its projected economic output in 2020. India is also expected to make some announcement soon.
Sources:
The Copenhagen Diagnosis: Climate Science Report http://copenhagendiagnosis.org/
Earth 'heading for 6C' of warming http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8364926.stm
Oceans' ability to sequester carbon diminishing http://news.mongabay.com/2009/1118-hance_ocean_carbon.html
World Summit on Food Security http://www.fao.org/wsfs/world-summit/en/
Food security in the Pacific at risk due to climate change http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/37758/icode/
2nd Africa Water Week http://www.dwaf.gov.za/dir_ws/2aww/
Taking the heat out of the population and climate debate http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/87/11/09-072652/en/index.html
'Feeling the Heat: Climate Change and Child Survival' http://www.savethechildren.net/alliance/what_we_do/emergencies/climate_change/feelingtheheat.html
The Copenhagen Diagnosis: Climate Science Report http://copenhagendiagnosis.org/default.html
East Antarctic ice sheet may be losing mass http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8371773.stm
Global warming could create 150 million 'climate refugees' by 2050 http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/nov/03/global-warming-climate-refugees
UNISDR 2010-2011 Biennial Work Programme http://www.unisdr.org/news/v.php?id=11801
First global scientific effort to examine the linkages between disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation http://www.unisdr.org/news/v.php?id=11682
Aerosols cloud the climate picture http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/48940/title/Aerosols_cloud_the_climate_picture
Climate change catastrophe took just months http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/science/earth-environment/article6917215.ece
Barcelona Climate Change Talks 2009 http://unfccc.int/meetings/intersessional/barcelona_09/items/5024.php
UK's Brown backs $10 billion climate change fund http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSGEE5AQ1KN

Nanotechnology Safety Issues
New Results on TiO2 Nanoparticle Toxicity to Cells
Scientists at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have published the results of a study showing that a physicochemical reaction to ingestion of TiO2 nanoparticles can induce DNA breaks, chromosomal damage, and inflammation in cells in various organs in a mouse model.
Sources:
Nanoparticles used in common household items caused genetic damage in mice http://www.physorg.com/news177608158.html
Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles Induce DNA Damage and Genetic Instability In vivo in Mice Cancer Res. 69: 8784-8789 http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/cgi/gca?sendit=Get+All+Checked+Abstract%28s%29&SEARCHID=1&FULLTEXT=tio2&VOLUME=69&ISSUE=22&FIRSTINDEX=0&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&gca=canres%3B69%2F22%2F8784

Sodium Cholate Found to Be Safe Surfactant for Carbon Nanotubes
Prof. Lifeng Dong and associates at Missouri State University, Springfield MO, have shown that sodium cholate is an environmentally friendly surfactant for the purification and dispersion of single-walled carbon nanotubes, not affecting cell morphology, proliferation, or growth.
Source:
Cytotoxicity Effects of Different Surfactant Molecules Conjugated to Carbon Nanotubes on Human Astrocytoma Cells http://www.springerlink.com/content/g5x542181j646494/

OECD to Release Guidance for Manufactured Nanomaterials Testing
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development plans to publish in the next month or so new draft guidance on the preparation of samples used for safety testing of manufactured nanomaterials. According to the Bureau of National Affairs, an OECD official stated that using traditional bulk chemical test methods with nanomaterials can lead to unexpected results and, “Materials tend to agglomerate or will attach themselves to other things that are in the [test] medium. So there is always the possibility that people are not testing the thing that they thought they were testing,” He also announced that OECD will be explaining human health and environmental safety aspects of nanotechnology at a series of regional meetings. “We will be explaining the kind of work we've been doing and the kind of guidance documents that we've developed,” he said. The first such event will be Nov. 27 in Beijing, for the Asia-Pacific region.
Source:
OECD to Release Preliminary Guidance For Testing of Manufactured Nanomaterials
http://ehscenter.bna.com/pic2/ehs.nsf/id/BNAP-7XGFWX?OpenDocument

UK Nanotech EHS Directory Published
The UK's Nanotechnology Knowledge Transfer Network has published the UK Nanotechnology Health, Safety and Environment Directory 2009, listing more than 30 institutes, government departments, networks and commercial service providers that are recognized as contributing in some way to the EHS debate.
Sources:
NanoKTN publishes a UK nanotechnology health, safety and environment directory
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=13506.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nanowerk%2FagWB+%28Nanowerk+Nanotechnology+News%29
UK Nanotechnology Health, Safety and Environment Directory 2009
http://mnt.globalwatchonline.com/epicentric_portal/binary/com.epicentric.contentmanagement.servlet.ContentDeliveryServlet/MNT/Knowledge%2520Centre/UKNanoHSEDirectory1.5.pdf

European Consumer Organizations Call for Better Nano Regulation
Two European consumer organizations – the European Consumers' Organisation (BEUC) and the European consumer voice in standardization (ANEC) – have issued a preliminary inventory of products on the EU market that contain nanomaterials. Its launch was accompanied by a series of demands from the organizations for better European regulation of nanotechnology.
Source:
EU consumer bodies launch nanotechnology consumer product inventory http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=13465.php

Nanomaterials Labeling in New EU Uniform Cosmetics Rule
A story in Nanowerk News reports that the EU has harmonized 55 existing directives into a single regulation on the labeling of cosmetics in the Union. One provision, opposed by Germany, requires that product labels indicate the presence of nanomaterials.
Sources:
Germany resists EU regulation for 'nanotechnology' label for cosmetics
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=13681.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nanowerk%2FagWB+%28Nanowerk+Nanotechnology+News%29
Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on cosmetic products (recast); PE-CONS 3623/09 http://register.consilium.europa.eu/pdf/en/09/st03/st03623.en09.pdf

New Centre for Nano Safety Established in Scotland
Edinburgh Napier University has set up a new Centre for Nano Safety as "a multi-disc[i]plinary centre addressing the potential human and environmental effects of nanomaterials, incorporating human and environmental toxicology as well as microbiology."
Sources:
New nanomaterials safety research center launched in the UK http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=13489.php
Centre for Nano Safety http://www.napier.ac.uk/RANDKT/RKTCENTRES/NANOSAFETY/Pages/CentreforNanoSafety.aspx

Petition Filed for EPA to Regulate Nanosilver
The International Center for Technology Assessment (ICTA) and a coalition of consumer, health, and environmental groups has filed a petition with EPA, requesting that it regulate all nanosilver products as pesticides and ban all consumer products containing nanosilver, under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act. The action is being interpreted as a first step in a campaign for more intensive evaluation and possible regulation of nanoproducts.
Sources:
Demands for Regulation of NanoSilver – The First Battle for the Industry’s Future? Vol. 6/3 http://www.nanolabweb.com/index.cfm/action/main.default.viewArticle/articleID/300/CFID/2812526/CFTOKEN/41767117/index.html (Abstract; full article by subscription)
Legal Petition Challenges EPA’s Failure to Regulate Environmental and Health Threats from Nano-Silver. Executive Summary http://www.icta.org/nanoaction/doc/CTA_nano-silver_executive_summary_5_1_08.pdf

NIEHS Awards 13 Grants for Nanomaterials Assessment Methods
The NIH National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences has awarded 13 new two-year grants to develop better methods to assess exposure and health effects associated with nanomaterials. According to Nanowerk News, the grants, "focus on ensuring that we have reliable and reproducible methods and models to assess exposure, exposure metrics, and biological response to nanomaterials", and the "research is also essential for the harmonization of research results and forming a scientifically sound basis for hazard assessment, as well as the safe design and development of [engineered nanomaterials]".
Sources:
NIEHS grants to focus more research on health and safety of nanomaterials http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=13626.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nanowerk%2FagWB+%28Nanowerk+Nanotechnology+News%29
NIEHS Awards Recovery Act Funds to Focus More Research on Health and Safety of Nanomaterials http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/releases/2009/nanotech.cfm

Australian Group Releases Two Workplace Nanosafety Reports
Safe Work Australia has announced the release of two research reports on engineered nanomaterials, Engineered Nanomaterials: Evidence on the effectiveness of workplace controls to prevent exposure, prepared by the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, and Engineered nanomaterials: A review of the toxicology and health hazards, researched by Toxikos Pty Ltd..
Sources:
Safe Work Australia releases two new reports for its Nanotechnology Occupational Health and Safety Program
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=13469.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nanowerk%2FagWB+%28Nanowerk+Nanotechnology+News%29

Australian Government Proposes New Nanotech Regulations
The Australian government is inviting discussion of a proposal to strengthen regulation of industrial nanomaterials use in Australia. According to Nanowerk News, "Major regulatory reforms … include: refinement of pre-market assessment categories for nanoforms of new chemicals, particularly where human health or environmental exposure can reasonably be anticipated; and a mandatory notification and assessment program for nanoforms of existing chemicals." It is expected that this carefully drafted proposal may serve as a model for other jurisdictions' regulatory efforts.
Probably also adding to the prominence of nanotech risk in the public eye in Australia is a new report, "What you should know about nano" for the Australia Institute by Fern Wickson of the University of Bergen, presented at the Asia-Pacific Science, Technology and Society Network Conference in Brisbane, and recommending stronger regulatory measures.
Sources:
Nanotechnology - Stakeholder Consultation http://www.nicnas.gov.au/Current_Issues/Nanotechnology/Stakeholder_Consultation.asp
Government invites consultations on strengthening nanomaterial regulations in Australia http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=13431.php
Australia Seeks Comment on Proposal for Regulating Industrial Nanomaterials http://news.bna.com/deln/DELNWB/split_display.adp?fedfid=15757279&vname=dennotallissues&fn=15757279&jd=a0c1k2r9g5&split=0
What you should know about nano. Policy Brief No. 8, November 2009, ISSN 1836-9014 https://www.tai.org.au/file.php?file=/media_releases/PB8%20Nanotechnology%20final.pdf
Nanotechnology - the sexy new science with lots of unanswered questions http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=13702.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nanowerk%2FagWB+%28Nanowerk+Nanotechnology+News%29

Lack of Standards for Engineered Nanoparticles in European Surface Waters
As reported by Meridian Nanotechnology and Development News, a recent article in the Journal of Environmental Monitoring "concludes that it is impossible to set limit values for engineered nanoparticles (ENPs) in European surface waters now and in the foreseeable future…due to the extensive lack of knowledge not only of toxic effects, degradability, and bioaccumulation of ENPs in the aquatic environment, but also due to the questionable validity of test systems and methods to establish environmental quality standards" and goes on to explain the role of the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) as an environmental control.
Sources:
Setting the limits for engineered nanoparticles in European surface waters – are current approaches appropriate? J. Environ. Monit., 2009, 11, 1774 - 1781, DOI: 10.1039/b909730a http://www.rsc.org/delivery/_ArticleLinking/DisplayHTMLArticleforfree.cfm?JournalCode=EM&Year=2009&ManuscriptID=b909730a&Iss=10
EU Water Framework Directive—information page http://ec.europa.eu/environment/water/water-framework/index_en.html

Questions Raised on Reliability of In Vitro Nanomaterials Toxicity Testing
In talks, one self-characterized as provocative, at the National Science and Technology Council's workshop Nanomaterials and Human Health & Instrumentation, Metrology, and Analytical Methods, Prof. David Grainger of the Univ. of Utah and Dean Martin Philbert of the University of Michigan's School of Public Health raised serious questions about the reliability of in vitro tests for toxicity of nanomaterials and advocated more whole body research, basing their criticism on the variability of in vitro tests and the lack of knowledge of nanomaterial interactions in a full biological environment.
Sources:
In vitro assessments of nanomaterial toxicity (Abstract) http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL
Cell Tests Can Produce Any Desired Result about Nanomaterial Toxicity, S