Global forest loss amounted to 18.7 million hectares (46 million acres) in 2014, a decline of about 9 percent relative to 2013 and 20 percent compared to 2012, according to data released today by a team of researchers from the University of Maryland and Google. Researchers pointed out some notable hotspots, including spikes in forest loss in the Mekong region, especially Cambodia, for rubber plantations.
Independent evaluations at multilateral development banks (MDBs) have called for a reform of the system of safeguards that they use to deflect potential damages to communities and the environment associated with the investments they finance. Without such mitigation, roads can harm habitats, dams displace communities and slum rebuilding hurt livelihoods.
What really happened in Tianjin is the result of a creeping environmental disaster unfolding across the globe, particularly in Southeast Asia, and it reflects the magnitude of the challenge that the leaders of the 10 ASEAN nations face as they seek to balance both economic growth and natural resource protection.
Amid mounting concerns about environmental issues, a growing number of people in China are starting to take the fight against pollution into their own hands. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and volunteer groups focused on environmental protection have been sprouting up around the country over the past few years. Most are engaged in detection efforts and conducting their own research on industrial pollution that is often ignored by the government.
To provide more clean energy, particularly in fast-growing Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, the world needs more hydropower dams, energy experts say. But a surge in building of big dams is also leading to poor people being displaced and losing rights to water – something that needs to be addressed if more dam projects go ahead, community leaders and researchers say.