Newsletter 211


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Newsletter 211

  1. 1. SOUTH AMERICA ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, AND HEALTH NEWSLETTER211 t h issue, December 3, 2012 BRAZIL: Joins International Marine Research Effort By Cheryl Dybas In this issue: Brazil recently joined an international marine research effort to document environmental change by monitoring and sampling the  Brazil: Joins International unseen world beneath the sea floor. The countrys inclusion made it Marine Research Effort the newest of 26 member countries in the Integrated Ocean Drilling  Peru: GLOBE Program Program (IODP). is Growing.  Argentina: Information IODP scientists conduct research aboard specialized scientific Without Frontiers. drilling vessels to advance understanding of the Earth through  Ecuador: Lonesome George Could Be drilling, coring, monitoring and documenting Earth processes and Photo by License. (flickr user). Under Creative Commons Ed Schipul “Revived”. effects, solid Earth cycles, the subsurface biosphere, and  Peru: IADB Approves A geodynamics. "We welcome the addition of Brazils scientists and engineers to IODP at a time when Loan for New Energy the world needs the knowledge of its researchers," says Rodey Batiza of the U.S. National Science Matrix. Foundations Division of Ocean Sciences.  Bolivia: It is Important To Continue With The NSF manages the program along with Japans Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Kyoto Protocol. Technology. The first IODP expedition with Brazilian researchers will begin in about six weeks off the  Brazil: Unfolding the Reptile Fauna of coast of Costa Rica. Scientists plan to learn more about the processes that trigger large earthquakes. Lençois. The research will take place aboard the drill ship JOIDES Resolution as part of the Costa Rica  Climate Change: Seismogenesis Project. Geoscientists will investigate an erosional subduction zone--a zone where Coffee Threatened. Earths crust is returning to the mantle at an eroding undersea trench.  Science: An Overview On Microbial Its the only known seismogenic zone at an erosional trench thats not too deep for current scientific Degradation of drilling capabilities. Expedition scientists will work to understand how "unstable slip" is triggered in Hydrocarbon Pollutants. this zone. Brazils membership in IODP will enable recipients of grants through Brazils "Science Next events: Without Frontiers" program to use IODP scientific facilities for their studies. Nov. 26—Dec. 7, 2012 According to Batiza, Brazils participation in IODP will allow Brazilian scientists to work with other UNFCCC COP 18 international scientists on common problems at the same time--and give U.S. geoscientists, as well Doha, Qatar. as those from other countries, the opportunity to learn from Brazilian researchers. "Brazils participation brings new opportunities not only for that country," says Batiza, "but for the global February 4, 2013 community." World Cancer Day March 22, 2013 Additional support comes from the European Consortium for Ocean Research Drilling, the Australia- World Water Day New Zealand IODP Consortium, Indias Ministry of Earth Sciences, the Peoples Republic of Chinas April17-19, 2013 Ministry of Science and Technology and the Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources. IFT Energy Santiago, Chile The JOIDES Resolution is a scientific research vessel managed by the U.S. Implementing Organization July 10-12, 2013 (USIO) of IODP. Texas A&M University, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, Eolica and the Consortium for Ocean Leadership comprise the USIO. Buenos Aires, Argentina Read more at: The information contained herein was gathered from news sources from across the region, and the views expressed below do not necessarily reflect those of the Regional Environmental HUB Office or of our constituent posts. Addressees interested in sharing any ESTH-related events of USG interest are welcome to do so. For questions or comments, please contact us at * Free translation prepared by REO staff.
  2. 2. PERU: GLOBE Program is Bank Unveils 10-Year Environmental StrategyCLIMATE CHANGE: WorldGrowing* By Heather Frankland By Lisa FriedmanGLOBE PERU is growing! We extend a warm welcome to I.E. N 86045 Cesar Vallejo, anOlleros Public School, and I.E. 86047 Jose Carlos Mariategui, a Huaripampa PublicSchool, both located in Ancash.With the support of Allison Eichele, a GLOBE teacher and Peace Corps EnvironmentalVolunteer, these schools have built two meteorological stations to undertake atmos-pheric studies.In addition, observers from the Elvira Garcia Public School have performed field workon the Costanera Avenue in the district of Magdalena del Mar, taken photos in orderto participate in the “Clouds Photo Contest”, and promoted the participation of pri-mary students and teachers. This photo contest runs until December 7. Please contactHeather Frankland at for information. Photo by Juan Francisco Saldarriaga (flickr user). Under Creative Commons License.ARGENTINA: Information Without Frontiers* By Nora Bar Argentine science authorities will sign an agreement to start eliminating barriers that prevent knowledge circulation. "The Reference" will be a network for institutional digital data that will offer free, open access to researchers for all science publications from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Chile, Ec- uador, Peru, Venezuela, and El Salvador. Open access allows free reading, downloading, copying, distribution, printing, searching or link-Photo by Nick Wheeler (flickr user). Under CreativeCommons License. ing full texts of scientific papers related to scientific research, education or public policies man- agement. On May 24, in Argentina, the House of Deputies partially approved a bill to enforcenational science institutions to create free, open access digital data repositories.This initiative is financed by the Inter American Development Bank, and would benefit more than 700.000 professors, 70.000 re-searchers and15.000.000 students. “Unity makes strength” says the proverb.Read full article at: Lonesome George Tortoise Can Be “Revived”Lonesome George, the late reptile prince of the Galapagos Islands, may be dead, but scientists now say “he may not be the lastgiant tortoise of his species after all. Researchers say they may be able to resurrect the Pinta Island subspecies by launching a cross-breeding program with 17 other tortoises found to contain genetic material similar to that of Lonesome George, who died June 24 at the Pacific Ocean archipelago off Ecuador’s coast after repeated failed efforts to reproduce. Edwin Naula, director of the Galapagos National Park, said in a telephone interview on Thursday that the probability is high, it can be accomplished. “It would be the first time that a species was recovered after having been declared extinct,“ Mr. Naula said. But it won’t happened overnight ”This isGIANT GALAPAGOS TURTLE. Photo by ephemerica (flickr user). Under Creative Commons going to take about 100 to 150 years,“ Mr. Naula added.License.Read full article at:
  3. 3. PERU: AIDB Approves A US$30 Unveils 10-Year Sustainable Energy Matrix*CLIMATE CHANGE: World Bank Million Loan for Environmental Strategy By Lisa Friedman This loan will foment the use of renewable sources and promote energy efficiency, reconciling growing energy demands, environmental protection, and community interests. The Inter American Development Bank (AIDB) approved the fourth and last transaction of a loan designed to support Perus development of a sustainable energy matrix. This US$30 million operation completes a total of US$230 million used since 2009 to in- crease the percentage of renewable energies as well as increase energy efficiency in the matrix. This funding is also geared to promote citizens’ participation.Photo by ponch_o (flickr user). Under Creative Commons License. According to the Peruvian Government, this fund will be used to develop a new energy matrix by 2040. It will support design of the National Energy Plan, Indicative SectorPlans, include strategic environmental evaluations for national and sector plans, and evaluate the Peruvian institutional and regula-tory framework to promote hydroelectric energy and non-conventional sources of renewable energy. In addition, it will considerspecific steps to enhance energy efficiency, emission control and environmental and social management.This program foments inclusive participation and social management mechanisms, and will increase national, regional and localinstitutional capacity through training, citizens’ participation guides, among other actions. This program supports government ef-forts to apply best practices related to the management of incomes from the energy sector. This program has been successful andprovided the bank with a model to guide other countries in the region to develop similar projects.Read more at:,10230.htmlBOLIVIA: It Is Important To Continue With The Kyoto Protocol*According to the Bolivian Ministry of Environment, there is a need for concrete steps andsanctions to reduce gas emissions by over 3°C`. However, this will not be part of the secondperiod of commitments in the Kyoto Protocol, due to lack of political will."Bolivia reiterates the need to guarantee continuity of the Kyoto Protocol for a second pe-riod, as part of a historical responsibility, in order to establish control parameters, environ-mental integrity and limits for use of flexibility mechanisms” highlights a government newsrelease.“Pursuing international law principles, a commitment failed by any part cannot be de- UNFCCC COP 3 Gavel used for adoption of the Kyoto Protocolmanded from other parts. For this reason, countries that do not ratify the protocol will not COP3 President, Minister Hiroshi Ohki, Kyoto International Conference Hall , December 11, 1997. Photo by Jason Riedyhave the right to demand anything. Such demand would represent an extreme abuse of the (flickr user). Under Creative Commons License.flexibility mechanisms, in which some countries would have rights without assuming anyobligation, increasing even more the emissions generated by carbon markets” the spokesperson added.In this sense, Bolivia and the ALBA countries (Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, made up by Antigua and Barbuda,Bolivia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Venezuela) proposed to avoid legalgaps for implementation of this second period, starting 2013, within the following parameters: The Kyoto Protocol requires agreements and amendments to continue for a second period, in which developed countries must reduce their emissions by at least half, according to parameters and levels stipulated in 1990, taking into account that these regulations should be implemented as of 1 January 2013. Developed countries, which are not part of the Kyoto Protocol, willing to enter the second period, must first fulfill the initial pro- visions of the Kyoto Protocol, in order to acquire new commitments for this second period, as well as flexibility mechanisms, such as use of exceeding units, unit transfer, certified emission reductions, emission reduction units, etc., and will not have represen- tation before the Executive Board of the Clean Development Mechanism until these countries are ratified for the second period.In Doha, Bolivia shows the country’s respect for Mother Earth’s rights.Reat more about this topic at:
  4. 4. B R A Z I L : Travels in Northeastern Brazil: Unfolding the Reptile Fauna of LençóisIn order to be effective, a Conservation Unit must have available a list of the species that livewithin it. They also should have detailed information about the distribution of species among theavailable habitats. It would be difficult to correctly plan the conservation actions and/or monitor-ing programs without some minimal knowledge about the species (who are the object of thosemeasures)."This is why our study is so important to the park," said Dr. Miranda from Universidade Federal doMaranhão (CCAA/UFMA), leading author of the article, published in the open access journal Photo by Breen Jones (flickr user). Under CreativeZookeys. In Lençóis Maranhenses National Park 42 species of reptiles were found. Approximately Commons License.80% of them live only in restinga habitats, which comprise about 20% of the area currently pro-tected by the park. Restingas have been strongly disturbed by the clandestine openings of paths created to transport tourists tothe dunes in the park, using off-road vehicles. This problem is more severe during the rainy season when paths become muddyquickly, and new ones are continuously opening. This could be extremely harmful to those habitats because their poor soil mightseverely limit natural recomposition. "We recorded endangered species in Lençóis Maranhenses; particularly sea turtles located inthe beach habitats. No one has any idea about the animal activity there! Are they spawning? Its very likely, but we dont have anydata! It would be very important to study and monitor those species in the 70 km of beaches of the Lençóis Maranhenses NationalPark" adds Dr. Miranda.Read more at: CHANGE: Coffee Threatened By Nick CollinsRising global temperatures and subtle changes in seasonal conditions could make 99.7 per cent of Arabica-growing areas unsuit-able for the plant by 2080, according to a new study by researchers from Kew Gardens.Although commercial growers could still grow their own crops by watering and artificially cooling them, the wild type has muchgreater genetic diversity which is essential to help plantations overcome threats like pests and disease. Identifying new sites wherearabica could be grown away from its natural home in the mountains of Ethiopia and South Sudan could be the only way of pre-venting the demise of the species, researchers said.Justin Moat, one of the reports authors, said: "The worst case scenario, as drawn from our analyses, is that wild Arabica could beextinct by 2080. This should alert decision makers to the fragility of the species."Arabica is one of only two species of bean used to make coffee and is by far the most popular, accounting for 70 per cent of theglobal market including almost all fresh coffee sold in high street chains and supermarkets in the US and most of Europe.Read more at: An Overview on Microbial Degradation of Petroleum Hydrocarbon Pollutants By Nilanjana Das and Preethy Chandran One of the major environmental problems today is hydrocarbon contamination resulting from the ac- tivities related to the petrochemical industry. Accidental releases of petroleum products are of particu- lar concern in the environment. Hydrocarbon components have been known to belong to the family of carcinogens and neurotoxic organic pollutants. Currently accepted disposal methods of incineration or burial insecure landfills can become prohibitively expensive when amounts of contaminants are large. Mechanical and chemical methods generally used to remove hydrocarbons from contaminated sitesPhoto by Judy Breck (flickr user). Under have limited effectiveness and can be expensive.Creative Commons License. Bioremediation is the promising technology for the treatment of these contaminated sites since it iscost-effective and will lead to complete mineralization. Bioremediation functions basically on biodegradation, which may refer tocomplete mineralization of organic contaminants into carbon dioxide, water, inorganic compounds, and cell protein or transforma-tion of complex organic contaminants to other simpler organic compounds by biological agents like microorganisms. Many indige-nous microorganisms in water and soil are capable of degrading hydrocarbon contaminants. This paper presents an updated over-view of petroleum hydrocarbon degradation by microorganisms under different ecosystems.Read more at: