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Calen May-Tobin

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About the author: Calen May-Tobin is a lead analyst with the Tropical Forest and Climate Initiative and conducts research on palm-related deforestation and how to reduce the land-use carbon footprint of the palm oil industry. He holds a Master’s degree in ecology from the University of California, Irvine. See Calen's full bio.

Rio+20: Stopping Short of the Summit

Today is the final day of the Rio+20 summit. The conference officially opened Wednesday afternoon with an opening plenary featuring speeches from the more the 119 heads of state in attendance and major groups including an unequivocal speech by the director of the Climate Action Network International, Wael Hmaidan. Comments like Wael’s were later followed up on Thursday with protests within RioCentro and a massive march in central Rio. Read More

Categories: Energy, Global Warming  

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Rio+20: Where’s the Science?

Yesterday was the official opening of the Rio+20 summit, with heads of state and government ministers descending on RioCentro for the opening ceremony. For all intents and purposes though, the negotiations are over and all that is left is for the politicians to makes statements about the final text. Given that we now have what will presumably be the final text, I decided to take a look and figure out the state of science in the text. Read More

Categories: Energy, Food and Agriculture, Global Warming  

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The Top Ten International Negotiation Terms for [In]action

My 7th grade English teacher had a stuffed mouse and a small plastic box she used to teach us prepositional phrases. The mouse’s name was Preppy the Prepositional Mouse and everything he could do with the box was a preposition; he could be on the box, in the box, near the box, etc.  When I read through what will most likely be the final version of the Rio text, I am reminded of Preppy. Read More

Categories: Global Warming  

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The Storm Before the Storm: A Day of Rest (?) at Rio+20

Today is a bit of a rest day at RioCentro. Late last night/early this morning, the Brazilians closed their negotiating session by presenting a consensus text which was approved by all of the countries, although there still is a lot of concern about the content. Read More

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Rio+20 Week 2: Reflecting on the Past and Moving Ahead(?)

Welcome to week two of our coverage of Rio+20. This Wednesday will mark the official start of the summit, when ministers and heads of state gather to work out the final details of the negotiations. Read More

Categories: Global Warming, Uncategorized  

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A Day in the Life at Rio+20

My day begins at around 6 in the morning. The songbirds and roosters usually wake me up before my alarm does. I get ready and make my go to breakfast is mango, toast, and queso fresco (“squeaky cheese” as one of my fellow grad students used to call it), with a glass of coconut juice (have to resupply those electrolytes). Read More

Categories: Global Warming  

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Rio+20 101: An Introductory Guide to Rio+20

Yesterday marked the official start of the Rio+20 pre-meetings, with government negotiators and NGO staff descending on Riocentro convention center (which, despite its name, is some 25 miles from the center of Rio) by the thousands. Read More

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Greetings from the Rio +20 Summit!

A lot can happen in twenty years. In 1992, the USSR had just dissolved, the internet was still in its infancy, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere was around 356ppm,and government officials from around the world gathered in Rio de Janeiro for the United Nations first Earth Summit. Read More

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Brazil Forest Code Vote Flies in the Face of Science

In the US, we are not strangers to seeing politics trump science in the policy arena.  As the work of the UCS Scientific Integrity program has demonstrated time and again, legislators and executive officials sometimes ignore or distort science when pushing a particular political agenda. The US does not have a monopoly on steamrolling science however, as the Brazilian Congress recently demonstrated by passing a set of controversial amendments to that nation’s Forest Code, which protects the Amazon and other critically important natural systems, over the protests of the nation’s leading scientific groups.

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The Lacey Act: Protecting the Protector

Question: Which U.S. law that protects endangered species, tropical forests, and U.S. jobs is now in need of  protection itself?

Answer: The Lacey Act.

For the last 100 years the Lacey Act has protected endangered species within the United States by making it illegal to transport them across state lines. In 2008, the act was amended to include a ban on the importation of illegally harvested timber from foreign countries. Now these amendments are under attack in Congress.

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