Thursday December 13, 2018
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IWC Shuts Down A Proposal To Create A Sanctuary For South Atlantic Whales

The issue has fractured the IWC for decades and there appears to be no room for compromise on either side.

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An effort to create a safe haven for whales in the South Atlantic was defeated Tuesday at the meeting of the (IWC) in Brazil.

The proposal, which was introduced by Brazil in 2001, received support from 39 countries but was opposed by 25, denying it the three-quarters’ majority it needed to pass.

Environmental organizations and conservationists had argued that the sanctuary would not only keep the mammoth mammals safe from hunting, but also protect them from getting entangled in fishing gear or being struck by ships.

But pro-whaling nations, led by Japan, argued there was no need for the sanctuary because no countries were conducting commercial whale hunting in the South Atlantic.

IWC
The South Atlantic Whale. Pixabay

Brazilian Environmental Minister Edson Duarte vowed to push to get the proposal passed at future meetings of the IWC.

“We will work in other meetings of this commission this year to ensure that the sanctuary will finally be created,” Duarte said.

Pro-whaling nations, including Japan, Iceland and Norway, are pushing for resumption of sustainable hunting of whales and are unlikely to allow for the creation of a sanctuary unless their demand is met.

IWC
The proposal, which was introduced by Brazil in 2001, received support from 39 countries but was opposed by 25.

 

Japan, which has pushed for an amendment to the ban for years, accuses the IWC of siding with anti-whaling nations rather than trying to reach a compromise between conservationists and whalers.

 

Also Read: Asia’s Increase In Consumption of Meat to Cause Environmental Problems: Researchers

The issue has fractured the IWC for decades and there appears to be no room for compromise on either side.

The conference ends Sept. 14. (VOA)

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Deforestation In Brazil’s Cerrado Savanna Records a New Low

Ricardo Salles, Brazil's future environment minister under Bolsonaro, told Reuters on Monday that Bolsonaro would not gut resources for environmental protection

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Deforestation
A flock of rheas is seen in a soybean field in the Cerrado plains near Campo Verde, Mato Grosso state, western Brazil. VOA

Deforestation in Brazil’s tropical Cerrado savanna, which makes up a quarter of the country, fell 11 percent to a record low in 2018 compared with a year earlier, the Ministry of Environment said in a statement Tuesday.

Deforestation in the South American country’s savanna biome totaled 6,657 square kilometers (2,570 square miles), an area larger than the U.S. state of Connecticut. That’s just below 6,777 square kilometers in 2016, the previous low since records began to be kept, the ministry said.

A biome is a grouping of plants and animals that have adapted to a specific environment.

This contrasts with the Amazon rainforest, making up 40 percent of Brazil, which has seen a 13.7 percent spike in deforestation this year to a 10-year high.

Deforestation
Brazil Surpasses 2020 Target to Cut Deforestation Emissions. Flickr

Activists have been concerned that deforestation could spike under policies proposed by President-elect Jair Bolsonaro, who assumes office Jan. 1 and has pledged to end the current “industry of fines” for environmental violations like deforestation.

The figure for Cerrado is based on the change in deforestation between August 2017 and July 2018, the period used to measure annual destruction, as recorded by Brazilian space research agency Inpe. The statement did not give a reason for the decline in deforestation.

The Cerrado’s vegetation soaks up major amounts of carbon dioxide, making its preservation key to curbing greenhouse gas emissions and for countering global warming.

Deforestation
Cerrado Plain. Flickr

While the Cerrado is less densely forested than the Amazon rainforest, its plants have deep roots that lock carbon into the ground and are sometimes referred to as an underground forest.

Also Read: Rainforests May Be Smothered Due To The Newly Elected Brazil President: Scientists

Ricardo Salles, Brazil’s future environment minister under Bolsonaro, told Reuters on Monday that Bolsonaro would not gut resources for environmental protection, contrary to the fears of environmentalists.

Money for environmental protection is spent inefficiently and mismanaged, he said, arguing he could produce better results with the same budget. (VOA)