Sign Up for Our Newsletter

Facebook

Share
Tats for Tortoises, Don’t Eat Arizona's Snow, 200 Climate Recommendations Wrapped in a Bow
Our top picks: today's environmental news and best #greenreads.

There goes Europe: After many years of leading the charge on fighting climate change, the European Union proposed a string of back-tracking measures yesterday. Notably it plans “an end to binding national targets for renewable energy production after 2020.” It also failed to propose any safeguards on fracking, a practice just finding its legs across the pond. But it isn’t all bad news. The EU's governing body decided to reduce carbon pollution emissions more drastically, pledging to cut them by 40 percent by 2030 instead of just 20 percent by 2020. New York Times

Friendly suggestions: Back in the United States, a group of business leaders, energy experts, and former government leaders said that President Obama has all the authority he needs to tackle climate change via executive action and shouldn’t need to mess around with Congressional approval. In a 207-page report, the group offered the president 200 recommendations focused on five areas: “doubling energy efficiency; financing renewable energy; producing gas more responsibly; developing alternative fuels and vehicles; and helping utilities adapt to the country's changed energy landscape.” Reuters

You want to shoot bison with what?: Ranchers are always concerned about diseases spreading from wild animals to their livestock. That’s why they want to shoot all of Yellowstone’s bison—with biobullets. The bullets, which would be administered once a year for 30 years, would contain vaccines to guard against brucellosis, which is endemic in the bison population. Environmentalists fought the plan, arguing that we don’t vaccinate skunks against rabies or mosquitoes against West Nile. In the end, the federal government decided against the ranchers' proposal, saying it may not be effective and expressing concern that shooting the bison every year could alter their behavior. Oh, and the $9 million price tag might have also been a factor. Reuters

Tortoise tattoos: Conservationists worldwide are taking action that might seem unthinkable—carving initials into endangered tortoises' shells. The codes are meant to identify individual animals, which might help dissuade and prosecute animal traffickers. Depending on the species and the tools available, other marking methods include brands, tattoos, paint, and laser engraving. For species like the ploughshare tortoise, of which fewer than 700 remain on earth, desperate times call for desperate measures. Los Angeles Times

Poison powder: The Hopi Tribe has brought a suit against the city of Flagstaff, Arizona, for using reclaimed wastewater to make snow at a nearby ski resort. The Hopi believe blanketing their sacred peaks in snow made from once-dirty water is a desecration. And there’s more to the claim than a little squeamishness—the water has been shown to contain "endocrine-disrupting chemicals, ... antibiotics, pharmaceuticals and steroids." Arizona’s Department of Environmental Quality has even required the resort to post signs warning customers not to eat the snow! I mean, seriously. High Country News

The Olympic spirit: We told you Monday that construction for the Sochi Winter Olympics is leading to all kinds of environmental catastrophe. Well, civic activist Evgeny Vitishko has been protesting the construction for more than a year, and for his trouble, Vitishko has been sentenced to probation and a curfew and could serve three years in a penal colony. Several other environmentalists and green organizations have also reported intimidation tactics, bugged phone calls, and threats from police. (In happier Olympic news, there may actually be a Jamaican bobsled team.) Al Jazeera America

DAILY DISTRACTION

Why do dogs love snow?: OK, probably not one of the greatest mysteries of the universe. But who hasn’t watched a dog go buck-nutty in a foot of snow and wondered what the heck’s going through its brain? “Dogs like to manipulate their environment,” says scientist Stanley Cohen. “They will play in a pile of leaves, just like the way kids do—the mind of a dog is very much like that of a two-year-old.” Click through for more analysis and a bajillion pics, gifs, and videos of dogs letting loose in the white stuff. The Dodo

OTHER HEADLINES

The ‘No More Tears’ Shampoo, Now With No Formaldehyde New York Times

Perry Nuclear Power Plant is Leaking Radioactive Water, Danger Minimal Cleveland.com

Ancient and Vulnerable: 25 Percent of Sharks and Rays Risk Extinction NPR

Tips: @OnEarthMag (tag it #greenreads)

Like this article? Donate to NRDC to support OnEarth's groundbreaking nonprofit journalism.